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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 6 - Nervous Tissue

Plate 6.88 Cerebral Cortex

Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger, Jr., Ph.D.
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed

Pyramidal cell

Plate 6.88 Cerebral Cortex

Cat, Golgi preparation, 500 x.

Perikaryon: Pyramid-shaped cell body impregnated with silver. Details of inner structure of nerve cells are not revealed by this method.

Apical dendrite: Stout tapering process. Directed toward surface of brain. Highly branched (Greek, dendron, tree).

Dendritic branches with gemmules: Dendritic branches increase the neuron surface for reception of many axon terminals or synapses. Dendritic branches are studded with spiny processes (gemmules) that increase greatly the surface area of the dendrite. It is estimated that this elaboration of surface area allows large neurons to receive as many as 100,000 separate axon terminals or synapses.

Axon: A single axon arises from the nerve cell body (as in this figure) or from the proximal part of a dendrite (see Plate 87). It has slender distal extensions with a smoother contour than dendrites and a uniform diameter. The method used in this preparation is the only one capable of revealing the whole neuron (perikaryon and its processes).

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