Difference between Neuron and Nerve

Key Difference:  Neurons are specialized cells which are capable of transmitting signals between different parts of the body. Nerve is a bundle of fibers composed of neurons. Therefore, neurons and nerves are closely related.

Neurons form the foundation of our nervous system. The word "neuron" was coined by the German scientist Heinrich Wilhelm Gottfried von Waldeyer-Hartz in 1891. Neurons are delicate cells which have a large interconnected channel present inside the body. More precisely, brain, spinal cord and nerves are made up of these cells. There are so many of these cells that one can hardly imagine.

These cells differ from other types of cells in the body as they are specialized types of cells responsible for transmitting information. They are responsible for brain’s ability to learn, reason as well as remember. They play a vital role in setting off impulses in sense organs. The network of neurons is like a branching network where each neuron has many ways to connect with the other neurons. The extensions of neurons are known as axon and dendrites. A neuron usually has many dendrites bur only one axon.

Nerves are basically tight bundles of nerve fibers. All neurons possess a cell body and one or more fibers. These fibers are of different sizes. They can be even microscopic or even extend up to 1 meter. These fibers are of two types –

  • Dendrites – responsible for carrying information towards the cell body
  • Axons – responsible for carrying information away from the cell body

These are mainly four types of nerves. Cranial nerves help in making connections of sense organs with the brain. Central nerves work by connection areas within the brain and spinal cord. Peripheral nerves connect spinal cord with the limbs. Autonomic nerves make a connection of brain and spinal cords with the organs.

Therefore, the existence of neurons is important for any type of nerve as it is composed of these neurons.

Comparison between Neuron and Nerve:

                                           

Neuron

Nerve

Definition

They are delicate cells which have a large interconnected channel present inside the body and are responsible for transmitting messages from one part of the body to another.

Nerves are basically tight bundles of nerve fibers. All neurons possess a cell body and one or more fibers.

Structure

  • Cell soma is the main body of this cell and consists of a nucleus and surrounding cytoplasm known as neuroplasm. Inside its body, granules are present which are known as nissl bodies.
  • The dendrites receive incoming nerve impulse whereas axon transmits the impulse to another neuron or receptor
  • Nerve consists of a large number of nerve fibers which are grouped together.
  • These groups of neurons are organized into bundles known as fasicles. Inside these fascicles, neurons and blood vessels are held in positions due to a loose connective tissue known as endoneurium.
  • Perineurium surrounds each fascicle. The outer layer consisting of dense connective tissue which forms the outer surface of the nerve is known as epineurium.
  • Some characteristics
  • They transmit signals to and from the brain at 200 mph
  • They vary in size and length
  • Neurons usually cannot regrow after damage
  • They communicate via electrochemical signals
  • Act as information highways
  • It carries information n the form of electrochemical impulses
  • Any pain or damage can seriously affect quality of life
  • It is whitish and elastic bundles of fibers

Types

  • Sensory Neurons
  • Motor Neurons
  • Association neurons
  • Cranial nerves
  • Central nerves
  • Peripheral nerves
  • Autonomic nerves

Image Courtesy: boundless.com, biomedresearches.com

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