Neuronal sum or pericarion: parts and functions

Neurons are one of the most important cell types in our body, As they allow the transmission of information between its different parts through the nervous system. Through them, a series of bioelectric impulses are generated and transmitted that allow us to perform each of the actions that we perform, both voluntarily and involuntarily, and that we refer to physical, cognitive or emotional behaviors or processes. .

But neurons are not homogeneous masses: if we focus on their structure, we can distinguish different elements or parts. One of the most important is the neuron soma, or pericarion, What is the article about?

    The central part of the neuron: the soma or pericarion

    The central and most important element of the cell is known as soma or pericarion, in which the nucleus is located and from which its other parts are derived, as first extensions: the dendrites and the axon. The shape of the soma, as well as its position in relation to the rest of its components of the same neuron, can vary widely depending on the type of neuron we are talking about (although it is usually rounded and large).

    The sums of neurons make up what we call gray matter, Related to the processing of nervous information. In fact, different brain structures of great importance are mainly made up of gray matter, such as the cortex itself, the basal ganglia, the thalamus or the hypothalamus.

      Main parts of the neuronal soma

      Within the soma or pericarion, we can find a large number of elements, all of great importance, which participate in the proper functioning of the cell and its maintenance. The main ones are as follows.

      1. Core

      The main and most important element of soma is the nucleus, in which are found the genetic instructions that govern the formation, growth, function and death of the neuron, that is, DNA. It can be found in or around the nucleus the nucleolus, which generates the transcription of RNA which will eventually generate the ribosomes present in the cell.

        2. Cytoplasm

        The cytoplasm is the liquid medium in which the nucleus and other elements of the soma are located, actively participate in cell metabolism and facilitate its movement. The membrane of the neuron is bounded by the cytoskeleton.

        3. Cytoskeleton

        this element formed by different types of filaments and tubules they help to give the pericarion a structure and a form and also participate in the migration and movement of the various components of the soma.

        4. Nissl body

        Rough endoplasmic reticulum clusters found mainly in soma (although they can also be seen in dendrites) and contain a large number of ribosomes, which are involved in the creation of proteins and neurotransmitters. In addition to this, they are a fundamental part of the pericarion, because if the cell is damaged (not only in the soma but also for example in the axon) it will be these elements that will contribute to its regeneration, dissolving and sacrificing itself for keep the neuron functioning (in a process known as chromatolysis).

        5. Golgi apparatus

        Element of great importance for the functioning of the neuron, the Golgi apparatus is one of them. large organelle in which proteins generated by Nissl bodies are temporarily stored, Incorporating other elements so that they can be packaged into macromolecules that are shipped through the neuron to nerve endings.

        6. Smooth endoplasmic reticulum

        Network of interconnected tubules whose main function is to serve as a coupling point for many substances secreted by other elements. It is also involved in the synthesis of lipids and elements bound to the membrane of the neuron. The aforementioned Golgi apparatus is, in fact, a smooth endoplasmic reticulum.

        7. Lysosomes

        Set of elements present in the cytoplasm whose main function is that of degrade intracellular material, Facilitate the operation of the soma by removing harmful debris.

        8. Ribosomes

        Present in some of the above structures but also freely localizable in the cytoplasm, ribosomes are macromolecules formed by ribosomal RNA and certain proteins which are responsible for protein synthesis. Technically, these are the elements which carry out the expression of the genetic information present in the nucleus, through this synthesis.

        9. Mitochondria

        Fundamental elements of the cell whose main function is that of energize it and keep it alive, Perform cellular respiration and synthesize ATP (an element used by cells as fuel).

        His function

        The soma or pericarion plays a key role: it is the part of the neuron that governs functioning and keeps this biological unit alive, Find the nucleus of the cell (in which the genetic instructions found in DNA are found) in it. It is responsible for producing and maintaining a sufficient level of energy for the cell to continue to function. It also contains elements that make up the cytoskeleton of the cell, as well as some elements that repair it from possible damage, such as Nissl bodies.

        Perhaps the most important role of soma is the fact that it performs the synthesis of most of the proteins present in the neuron, and among them those that will be part or they will initiate the synthesis of most neurotransmitters.

        Finally, it is from it that the extensions that will receive and send nervous information are derived.

        It is the part of the neuron which it allows the processing of nervous information and their reactionBeing the sum of neurons is an important part of explaining how humans function and govern their behavior.

        bibliographical references

        • Kandel, ER; Schwartz, JH and Jessell, TM (2001). Principles of neuroscience. Fourth edition. McGraw-Hill Inter-American. Madrid.
        • Ramón and Cajal, S. (2007). Histology of the nervous system of man and vertebrates. Tom i. Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs. Madrid.

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