The Structure and Function of Nervous Tissue

The Structure and Function of Nervous Tissue

Structure of Nervous Tissue

Basic Concepts

  • Nervous tissue is a complex system in the body, primarily involved in sending and receiving signals for communication
  • It consists of two types of cells: neurons and neuroglia (glial cells)
  • The neuron is the base unit of nervous tissue, responsible for transmitting electrical signals
  • Neuroglia provide support for neurons, protecting and maintaining the cellular environment

Neuron Structure

  • The neuron consists of the cell body (also known as the soma), axons, and dendrites
  • The cell body contains the nucleus and other organelles
  • Dendrites are short, branch-like structures that collect signals from other neurons and transmit them toward the cell body
  • The axon is a long extension that transmits signals away from the cell body to other neurons, glands, or muscles
  • Axons are covered by a myelin sheath, a fatty covering that speeds up signal transmission

Function of Nervous Tissue

Signal Transmission

  • The main function of nervous tissue is to transmit signals throughout the body
  • This transmission is achieved via nerve impulses or action potentials, which are electrical signals
  • These signals are transmitted along the nerve fibres (axons)


  • The transfer of the impulse from one neuron to another happens across a synapse via chemicals known as neurotransmitters
  • This process of transference is known as neurotransmission

Integration of Information

  • Nervous tissue also functions in receiving, processing, and integrating information from different parts of the body
  • This integration allows for coordinated responses to changes in the internal and external environment

Control and Coordination

  • Nervous tissue is essential for the control and coordination of various activities in the body
  • This includes regulating heartbeat, controlling breathing, coordinating movement, and processing sensory information

Remember that comprehension of the structure and function of nervous tissue is fundamental to understanding the nervous system’s role in the body’s wider communication and response mechanisms.