Nerve vs Neuron: Difference and Comparison

The human body is a mystery to most people out there. As the name suggests, the human body is a necessity without which human beings fail to exist.

Their existence goes in vain if proper care and attention are not given to their bodies. The human body acts as a host, enabling us to function efficiently.

Without a body, people cannot perform tasks and carry on with their daily lives smoothly. As you already know, the human body comprises several cells, organs, systems, and intrinsic processes that help bring all the above components together for smooth functioning.

Nerves and neurons are two components that play pivotal roles in the mechanism of one’s body. Although they are confused for being the same, both nerve and neuron are quite different.

Key Takeaways

  1. Neurons are individual cells that carry nerve impulses, while nerves are bundles of neurons.
  2. Neurons transmit information, while nerves transmit messages between the brain and different parts of the body.
  3. Neurons have dendrites, cell bodies, and axons, while nerves consist of myelinated and unmyelinated axons.

Nerve vs. Neuron

A nerve is a neuron group that transfers information among various body parts. A nerve makes paths to transfer information. Three layers are included in the nerve structure. A neuron is a single cell that transfers electrical and chemical signals. Neurons’ functionality depends on their types.

Nerve vs Neuron
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Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonNerve   Neuron
    Meaning   A nerve is made up of a group of neurons.A neuron is an individual cell with a specialization.
Function A nerve transmits information to various parts of the body.A neuron transmits nerve impulses, that is, electrical and chemical signals.
ClassificationNerves have two classifications: – one into afferent, efferent and mixed nerves and the second into spinal and cranial nerves.Neurons are classified into sensory neurons and motor neurons.
  LocationNerves are located in the peripheral nervous system.Neurons are located in the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves.
  Constitution   Nerves comprise different types of axons, with each nerve coated with three layers.  Neurons comprise mainly four parts: – soma, nucleus, dendrite tree, and axons.

What is Nerve?

Nerves and neurons are quite important parts of our body mechanism. While they are very similar, certain differences help one to distinguish each other.

A group of neurons forms a nerve; that is, a group of neurons together forms a nerve. The main function of both nerve and neuron is to transmit or convey information.

In the case of a nerve, the main function of it is to transmit information to various other parts of the body. They form pathways to different parts of the body.

Thus, it is with the help of these pathways of nerves that information is transmitted to other parts of the body. One can see two classifications when it comes to nerves.

According to one classification, nerves are divided into three types: afferent, efferent, and mixed. Afferent nerves carry signals from sensory neurons to the central nervous system.

Efferent nerves carry signals from the central nervous system to the targeted glands and muscles. Mixed nerves carry afferent and efferent axons and thus are responsible for the incoming sensory information and the outgoing signals to the muscles and glands.

The second classification is into two types: spinal and cranial. Spinal nerves distribute signals to most body parts through the vertebral column to the spinal cord.

The cranial nerves distribute signals to different parts of the head (brain, brainstem). Nerves are found in the peripheral nervous system.

A nerve is considered the basic unit of the peripheral nervous system. A nerve comprises different types of axons, through which they transmit signals and information to the different body parts.

Each nerve has three layers: – the inner endoneurium covering the nerve fibers, the perineurium being the middle layer, and the outer layer called epineurium. This is the basic structure of a nerve.

Nerve

What is Neuron?

A group of neurons forms a nerve. A neuron, on the other hand, is an individual specialized cell.

This is the main difference between a nerve and a neuron. A neuron is also called a nerve cell or a neuron, but the latter spelling and usage have now become quite uncommon.

The main function of a neuron is also to convey information. A neuron transmits nerve impulses through electrical and chemical signals called electrochemical signaling.

The functions of neurons can be specified based on the different types of neurons. There are mainly two types of neurons: sensory and motor neurons.

The purpose of sensory neurons is to send information to the brain and spinal cord. At the same time, motor neurons receive information from the brain and spinal cord.

Neurons are found in the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Neurons are considered to be the main components of the nervous system.

A neuron comprises mainly four parts: – soma, nucleus, dendrite tree, and axons. Soma refers to the body of a neuron.

The nucleus refers to the part located within the soma. As the name suggests, the dendrite tree branches out as extensions from the neuron.

Axons act as extensions from the soma. This is the basic structure of a neuron.

Neuron

Main Differences Between Nerves and Neurons

  1. The main difference between a nerve and a neuron is that while the former is a group of neurons, the latter is an individual specialized cell.
  2. A nerve transmits information to the various parts of the body. But a neuron conducts electrochemical signaling, that is, nerve impulses.
  3. A nerve has two classifications: one into afferent, efferent, and mixed nerves and the other into spinal and cranial nerves. But a neuron is classified into two types: sensory and motor neurons.
  4. Nerves are found in the peripheral nervous system. But neurons are found in the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves.
  5. A nerve constitutes different types of axons, with each nerve covered by three layers (endoneurium, perineurium, and epineurium). A neuron constitutes four parts (soma, nucleus, dendrite tree, and axons).
Difference Between Nerve and Neuron
References
  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4615-3560-7_11
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/026676819090040B
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