The Central Nervous System is one of the two main categories of the Nervous System.
It is so named because it receives information from throughout the body, then integrates that information and coordinates and influences action and activities throughout the body.
It works in conjunction with the Peripheral Nervous System.
The main function of the CNS is the reception of information, the processing of that information, and often the decision or reaction made to the information.
Along with the peripheral nervous system, the central nervous system works together to control behavior.
The CNS is quite complex and the location is extensive.
Within the brain are several areas dedicated to CNS control.
Structure – Brain and Spinal Cord
White and Gray matter
Microscopically, there are differences between the neurons and tissue of the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system is divided in white and gray matter. This can also be seen macroscopically on brain tissue. The white matter constitutes of axons and oligodendrocytes, while the gray matter chiefly constitutes of neurons. Both tissues include a number of glial cells (although the white matter contains more), which are often referred to as supporting cells of the central nervous system. Different forms of glial cells have different functions, some acting almost as scaffolding for neuroblasts to climb during neurogenesis such as bergmann glia, while others such as microglia are a specialized form of macrophage, involved in the immune system of the brain as well as the clearance of various metabolites from the brain tissue. Astrocytes may be involved with both clearance of metabolites as well as transport of fuel and various beneficial substances to neurons from the capillaries of the brain. Upon CNS injury astrocytes will proliferate, causing gliosis, a form of neuronal scar tissue, lacking in functional neurons.
The brain (cerebrum as well as midbrain and hindbrain) consists of a cortex, composed of neuron-bodies constituting gray matter, while internally there is more white matter that form tracts and commissures. Apart from cortical gray matter there is also subcortical gray making up a large number of different nuclei.
The following is a list – divided into 4 categories:
– Amygdala – helps process memory of “emotional” states
– Hippocampus – [Front Brain] – short term memory
– Lateral Ventricles
– Rhinencephalon – area helps control smell
– Hypothalamus – Release of several enzymes
– Pineal gland – Melatonin production
– Pituitary gland – Secretes hormones
– Thalamus – Process input from body then relays it to cerebral cortex
– Third Ventricle
– Cerebral peduncle
– Tectum – Some control of Eye movement, vision, and hearing
– Pretectum – Receives input from eye
– Pons – This is a conduit for information from the cerebellum and the cerebrum, has control in breathing and a possible role in dreaming
– Cerebellum – helps with sensory, coordination, motor control
– Medulla oblongata – helps control blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration
Development of the CNS is quite complex and important.
The brain continues to develop and mature well after birth.
It is believed that the brain is still developing during the first twenty years of life.i