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

Plate 6.90 Nissl Bodies

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

Motor neurons Spinal cord

Plate 6.90 Nissl Bodies

Rhesus monkey, 10% formalin, gallocyanin, 612 x.

Perikaryon: Cell body, multipolar and large.

Nucleus: Spherical, pale, centrally placed with widely dispersed chromatin.

Nucleolus: Prominent in the pale background of the nucleus.

Dendrite: A process of the neuron that allows an expansion of the neuron surface for reception of stimuli. Nissl material is restricted to the proximal region of the dendrite.

Neuropil: Region between neurons. Composed of neuronal and glial processes.

Nissl bodies: Named after the German histologist Nissl, who first described them. They are one of the major characteristics of the neurons. Found in perikarya and in the proximal part of the dendrite. Electron microscopy reveals Nissl substance to be composed of ribosomes bound to membranes (the rough endoplasmic reticulum). Nissl substance is involved in protein synthesis. Nissl bodies undergo a distinctive change (chromatolysis) in response to axon section or injury.

Axon hillock: The region in the neuronal cell body that marks the emerging axon. It is devoid of Nissl bodies. See also Plate 89.

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