Glial cells are also referred to as glia or neuroglia. They are responsible for maintaining homeostasis, developing myelin, offering protection, and support for neurons in the peripheral nervous system and the brain. The two glial cells that I will discuss are Schwann cell and microglial cell.
It is a cell of the peripheral nervous system and it offers a small part of electrical insulation for a few neurons by developing a part of the myelin sheath for their axons. This results in an increase in the rate of transmission of action potentials along that axon. This implies that the Schwann cells coils around the axon of the neuron, developing areas that influence the formation of myelin. This leads to the formation of myelin sheath around the axon and in between the Schwann cell and axon (Apbrwww5.apsu.edu, 2014, p.1). This is significant because myelinated cells transmit impulses faster than non-myelinated nerves. It also assists in the regeneration of peripheral nervous system. Another function of Schwann cells is that they help in cleaning up debris of the peripheral nervous system and guides the redevelopment of PNS axons.
They are also referred toas microglia and they are located in the central nervous system (CNS), that is in the tissues of the spinal cord and the brain (Apbrwww5.apsu.edu, 2014, p.1).
It protects the neurons of the central nervous system from diseases. For instance, it clears away the dead cells and the debris. Research also indicates that microglia performs the scavenging function (Apbrwww5.apsu.edu, 2014, p.1). They also serve as a key inflammatory type of cell in the brain.
Neurotransmitters and their Functions
Studies indicate that there are approximately 50 neurotransmitters, but will only discuss the few significant ones and their functions.
It was discovered by Otto Loewi in 1921.Its key role is to stimulate muscles. It also regulates activities in specific areas of the brain, which are related with attention, learning, arousal, and memory (Ivy-rose.co.uk, 2014, p.1). Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease are said to have a considerably low level of acetylcholine.
It performs the function of controlling voluntary movements of the body, and it is related with reward mechanism of the body. It also regulates pleasurable efforts. A considerable low level of dopamine is related with Parkinson’s disease. Conversely, individuals with schizophrenia are said to have more dopamine in the forward lobes of the brain (Ivy-rose.co.uk, 2014, p.1).
It is a significant inhibitory neurotransmitter. It can have a vital effect on mood, emotion, and anxiety. It entails regulating eating, wakefulness, and sleep. It also plays a significant function in perception. The hallucinogenic drugs for instance LSD usually bind to the serotonin receptor sites hence blocking the transmission of nerve impulses, so that it can change sensory experiences (Ivy-rose.co.uk, 2014, p.1). Low levels of this transmitter are said to be related with conditions like suicidal thoughts and depression.
Epinephrine and Norepinephrine
Ephrine is also called adrenaline and it majorly controls mental focus, cognition, and arousal (Thebrain.mcgill.ca, 2014, p. 1). Norepinephrine performs the function of regulating mental and physical focus, and mood. Secretion of norepinephrine at high levels raises the rate of the heart beat and blood pressure.
They are neurotransmitters that have a similar structure like that of opioid compounds like heroin and opium (Thebrain.mcgill.ca, 2014, p.1). They play a significant role of reducing stress, pain and promoting serenity and calmness.
It is a gas that serves both as neurotransmitter and a hormone, based on particular requirements (Thebrain.mcgill.ca, 2014, p.1). It can results in dilation of blood vessels, a part from preventing the formation of blood vessels. This later on promotes blood circulation. It also improves learning, raises the level of oxygen in the body, and alertness.
Apbrwww5.apsu.edu. (2014). CH 11 Types of Glial Cells. Retrieved 7 October 2014, from: <http://apbrwww5.apsu.edu/thompsonj/Anatomy%20&%20Physiology/2010/2010%20Exam%20Reviews/Exam%203%20Review/CH%2011%20Types%20of%20Glial%20Cells.htm>
Ivy-rose.co.uk. (2014). Nervous Tissue – Structure and Functions of Human Tissue Types. Retrieved 7 October 2014, from: <http://www.ivy-rose.co.uk/HumanBody/Tissue/Tissue_Nervous-Tissue.php>
Thebrain.mcgill.ca. (2014). The Brain from Top to Bottom. Retrieved 7 October 2014, from: <http://thebrain.mcgill.ca/flash/i/i_01/i_01_m/i_01_m_ana/i_01_m_ana.html>