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Lecture 1 - Jan 7 - LIFESCI 3B03.docx
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Department
Life Sciences
Course
LIFESCI 3B03
Professor
Margaret Fahnestock
Semester
Winter

Description
WEEK 1 LIFESCI 3B03 Week 1 January 7, 2014 The Central Nervous System: Introduction − There are a hundred billion neurons in the human brain − Proper nervous system function involve coordinated action of neurons in many brain regions; each neuron communicates with many other neurons  to form circuits − All perceptions, thoughts and behaviours result from combinations of signals among neurons − Neurons communicate using both electrical and chemical signals − Association fibres connect functional domains (brain areas specialized to different roles) o Circuit tracing using fluorescent dyes o Brain areas specialized to different roles o Other behaviour distributed among many different areas – each particular behaviour is not necessarily central to a particular area o Figure not included Neuron Morphology and Diversity − Major Components o Soma = Cell Body  Differ in size o Dendrites – projection from the Soma  Differ in branching pattern  Input to the neuron o Axon– projection from the Soma  Differ in length and projection  Output of the neuron  Commonly only one axon  Sometimes branches, but not always o Neurites – don’t know if it is an axon or dendrite − Neuron Structure o Soma – signal integration 1 WEEK 1 LIFESCI 3B03  Electrical and molecular signals from dendrites and axons • Signals from thousands of different cells  • All signals converge on the Soma o Dendrites  Multiple branches provide huge increase in surface area  Receive hundreds to thousands of inputs  Convergence (inputs from many other neurons) o Axon   Output structure  Allows communication over long or short distances  Divergence to many other neurons (limited − Spines o Input structures of dendrites where synapses form  At excitatory synapses; not inhibitory synapses o Small protrusions of dendritic membrane  1­2 µm length 
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