VERONICA FALCONIERI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY VERONICA FALCONIERI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Central nervous system (CNS) cells. Illustration showing various neurons (nerve cells, blue), glial cells and a blood vessel (red). Neurons are responsible for passing information around the CNS and from the CNS to the rest of the body. Each neuron comprises a body surrounded by numerous extensions called dendrites, which collect information from other nerve cells or from sensory cells. Each cell also has one process called an axon, which passes information to other nerve cells, or effector cells such as muscle fibres. Glial cells provide support for the neurons. There are several types, including oligodendrocytes (pink), which form myelin (protein that coats and insulates the axons of the nerve cells), astrocytes (peach), which surround and regulate synapses and supply neurons with nutrients, and microglia (white), which are involved in immune reactions in the CNS, where they recognise areas of damage and inflammation and phagocytose (engulf) cellular debris.
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