Difference Between Nerve and Neuron (with Table)

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

Their existence goes in vain if proper care and attention is not given to their bodies.

A human body acts as a host, enabling us to function efficiently. Without a body, people will not be able to perform tasks and carry on with their daily lives smoothly.

As you already know, a human body comprises of several cells, organs, systems and intrinsic processes that help in bringing all the above components together for a smooth functioning.

Nerves and neurons are two components which play pivotal roles in the mechanism of one’s body.

Although they are often confused for being the same, both nerve and neuron are quite different from each other.

The difference between nerve and neuron is their constitution. While a nerve is formed by a group of neurons, a neuron is an individual cell with a different specialization.

Comparison Table Between Nerve and Neuron

Parameter of Comparison Nerve   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 of different types of axons, with each nerve coated with three layers.  Neurons comprise of 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 to each other, there are also certain differences that helps one to distinguish each other.

A nerve is formed by a group of neurons, 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 nerves, efferent nerves and mixed nerves.

Afferent nerves carry signals from sensory neurons to the central nervous system. Efferent nerves carry signals from central nervous system to the targeted glands and muscles.

Mixed nerves carry both afferent and efferent axons and thus are responsible of the incoming sensory information and the outgoing signals to the muscles and glands.

The second classification is into two types: – spinal nerves and cranial nerves.

Spinal nerves distribute signals to most parts of the body, through the vertebral column to the spinal cord. Whereas 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 to be the basic unit of the peripheral nervous system.

A nerve comprises of different types of axons, through which they transmit signals and information to the different body parts.

Each nerve is covered with three layers: – the inner endoneurium covering the nerve fibres, perineurium being the middle layer and the outer layer called epineurium.

This is the basic structure of a nerve.

nerve

What is Neuron?

A nerve is formed by a group of neurons. 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 neurone, but the latter spelling and usage has now become quite uncommon.

The main function of a neuron is also to convey information. A neuron transmits nerve impulses, in the form of electrical and chemical signals, also called electrochemical signalling.

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

Sensory neurons send information to the brain and spinal cord. Whereas 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 of mainly four parts: – soma, nucleus, dendrite tree and axons.

Soma refers to the body of a neuron. Nucleus refers to the part located within the soma. Dendrite tree, as the name suggests, 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 Nerve and Neuron

  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 signalling, that is, nerve impulses.
  3. A nerve has two classifications, that is, one into afferent, efferent and mixed nerves and the other into spinal and cranial nerves. But a neuron is classified into two types: – sensory neurons 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).

Conclusion

Both nerves and neurons are quite similar in terms of the functions they perform, the parts that constitute them, etc.

Nerves are actual projections of neurons. A neuron is an individual cell and a group of these cells form a nerve.

Nerves and neurons differ in terms of the places they are located at, their different classifications, different components, etc.

In spite of these differences, both nerves and neurons are significant in one’s body mechanism.

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4615-3560-7_11
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/026676819090040B