The synapse and neurons:Types, Functions, and Shapes

The synapse and neurons

The synapse and neurons are tough words between us but in this article we will make it easy. They are two very important components of the nervous system. We talked earlier about nerve cells or neurons. Also in this article we will explore what are neurons and synapses. We have mentioned that the nerve cell consists of a large cell body which contains the cell nucleus and its organelles.

Two types of appendages arise from the cell body:(Synapse and neuron)


Dendrites are short, highly branched extensions found in every neuron
the axon, which is a long, thick fiber that branches only in its terminal part.


 cellule nervose

Now we talk about The synapse and neurons in detail.

Classification of neurons according to their function:

  1. Sensory or afferent neurons
  2. Association neurons or interneurons
  3. Motòri  or efferent neurons

Sensory neurons or afferent neurons

  • Function:

  • carry impulses from sensory receptors to the central nervous system
  • Cell body location:

  • the axon extending from the cell body, splits into two branches, one going to the periphery of the body and one going to the central nervous system
  • Its type according to shape:

  • ‘Pseudo-unipolar’ neurons

neuroni sensoriali O neuroni afferenti

Association neurons OR interneurons

transmitting, processing and integrating the stimuli received.
Cell body location:
They are only found within the central nervous system. Some are located between sensory and motor neurons.
Its type according to shape:
It has forms They have many dendrites and a single axon.

neuroni di associazione o interneuroni Motòri  or efferent neurons

they transmit the response processed by the central nervous system, in particular from the brain, to the affected muscles or glands
Cell body location:
They are located in the anterior horns. Of the marrow or at the ‘encephalic’ level.
Its type according to shape:
They have many dendrites and a single axon. It has different shapes. They have many dendrites and a single axon.. neuroni motòri o neuroni efferenti

Let’s see once a neuron has traveled, the nerve impulse is transmitted to another cell:

  • If the following cell is another neuron, the stimulus continues its journey within the nervous system;
  • Instead if it is a muscle cell, the stimulus induces its contraction or relaxation;
  • But if the cell that follows the neuron is that of a gland, the arrival of the impulse determines the release of the products of the gland itself.

The other part of the synapses and nerve cells is.


They are the contact points between two nerve cells and are used to propagate nerve impulses.

It is made up of three elements:

  • Synaptic button, a small swelling located at the apex of all the branches of the pre-synaptic neuron (i.e. the nerve cell from which the signal arrives);
  • A synaptic gap, a microscopic gap between two cells in succession;
  • Synaptic receptors, special proteins located on the cell membrane of the post-synaptic neuron, ie the cell that receives the signal, which pick up chemical signals.

How do synapses work?


When the electrical signal reaches the “bottom” of the first neuron, the synaptic button releases a chemical called a neurotransmitter into the synaptic cleft. The receptors on the second cell sense the presence of the neurotransmitter and initiate a new electrical signal. After this passage of the electrical signal from one cell to the next, the neurotransmitters are reabsorbed and stored back into the synaptic bundles, and the cells are once again ready to transmit another nerve impulse.


The synapse and neurons are a complex network of tiny organelles important for the functioning of the nervous system.

pdf fileI neuroni e le sinapsi

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