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Nervous Tissue – Definition, Characteristics, Functions, Types

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Nervous tissue is one of the four types of animal tissue, along with epithelial tissue, connective tissue, and muscle tissue. Nervous tissue is composed of two main types of cells: neurons and glial cells. Nervous tissue is present in the brain, spinal cord, and nerves all around the body. Nervous tissues perform so many important functions like movement, thought, memory, movement, etc. If nervous tissue does not work properly it leads to some nervous tissue disorders such are: Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, etc.

Nervous Tissue

The central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord, contains nerve tissues. The cranial and spinal nerves are made up of neural tissues in the peripheral nervous system. Nervous tissues serve a variety of important activities, including:

  1. They regulate and coordinate the body’s metabolic functions.
  2. They assist in the transmission of information inside the body.
  3. They aid in the maintenance of equilibrium and the development of acute awareness of our surroundings.
  4. They also assist us in responding to outside stimuli.

These tissues are also important for an organism’s emotional regulation, memory, and thinking abilities.

What is a Nervous Tissue?

The nerve tissue is the fundamental tissue of our nervous system. Nervous tissue observes and regulates the body’s functions. Nervous tissue comprises two cells: nerve cells or neurons and glial cells, which send nerve signals and furthermore give essential nutrients to neurons. The mind, Spinal Cord, and nerves are made out of nervous tissue, Nervous tissue is a specialized tissue that transmits stimulus from one part to other parts of the body.

Structure of Neuron

  • Axon: Nerve cells or neurons, all of which comprise an axon. Axons are long stem-like projections arising out of the cell because neuron communication between the cells occurred, subsequently passing driving forces. 
  • Cell Body: The central part of the neuron is the cell body which contains the nucleus, cytoplasm, and cell organelles.
  • Dendrite: Dendrite is an exceptionally spread process, answerable for getting information from different neurons and neurotransmitters. Information from different neurons from different cells taken by dendrites attaches to their cell body. 

Information in a neuron is unidirectional as it goes through neurons from dendrites, across the cell body down the axon.

Nervous Tissue Diagram

Neuron Structure


Nervous Tissue Location 

The nerve tissue, also known as nervous tissue, is the main tissue component of two important parts of nervous tissue: the central nervous system (CNS), CNS has 2 components: the spinal cord and the brain, and the peripheral nervous system’s expanding peripheral nerves, which regulate and coordinate the body’s organs and actions.

Nervous tissue may be found in peripheral nerves that travel throughout the body, as well as central nervous system components like the spinal cord and brain. The nervous tissue comprises nerve cells or neurons. Neurons are particular cells that respond to boosts by creating signals through the axons, which are stretched designs emerging from the cell body.

Characteristics of Nervous Tissue

Following are the characteristics of Nervous tissue:

  • Nervous tissue comprises CNS and PNS of the nervous system.
  • Contains two particular cells: neurons and glial cells
  • Dendrites, cell bodies, axons, and nerve terminals are all part of the nervous tissue.
  • Neurons’ axon terminal release neurotransmitters which further activate the dendrites of another neuron.
  • The presence of specialization at axonal terminals is called synapses.
  • Nerve cells have a long life, and can’t be separated and replaced (except memory cells)

Functions of Nervous Tissue

  • Neuron generates nerve impulses. Neurons produce electrical signals which transmit signals across distances, this is done by relating neurotransmitters.
  • Nervous tissue responds to stimulus.
  • It carries out communication.
  • Gives electrical protection to nerve cells and eliminates debris.
  • It carries the message from one to another part of the body.

Types of Nerves

Signals are started because of any stimulus. They start from the CNS (Central Nervous System) i.e., signals arrive from the brain in some cases they arise from the spinal cord. The signal starts from the CNS and reaches the external part of the body or external edges, like external organs, and limbs which do the appropriate reaction. Contraction or relaxation of the muscle is the response due to any stimulus. In cold conditions, we get goosebumps as an action due to cold conditions which is a stimulus.

When the nerves get an electrochemical signal (neurotransmitter) `or any impulse from the stimulus, neves start functioning by responding via getting a signal from the brain in response to the stimulus. On the basis of their function nerves are classified into different types of nerves:

Types of Neurons


Motor Nerves

Motor neurons, also known as motor nerves, are responsible for transmitting signals as far as possible from the spinal cord and brain to all of the body’s muscles. The impulse helps people to do normal activities like talking, walking, drinking water, squinting their eyes, sitting, sleeping, and so on. If any damage to the motor neurons then it can cause weakness of muscle or contraction of the muscles. The sciatic nerve is the nerve that runs from the lower back to the bump. The sciatic nerve empowers the full leg to move which the help of different nerves. A couple of these motor nerves work in the hamstring, feet, thighs, and feet.

Sensory Nerves

The sensory nerves or sensory neurons create impulses or signals in the opposite direction from another kind of nerve known as the motor neurons. The sense neurons assemble information like pressure, pain, temperature, and so forth from the sensors that are available in the muscles, skin, and other inward organs which thus divert it back to the brain and spinal cord. These sensory nerves have the capability of conveying information connecting with movement (aside from the eyes, as they personally get it done). Numbness, pain, tingling sensation, and hypersensitivity are all symptoms of damage to the sensory nerves.

Autonomic Nerves

The heart muscles, as well as smooth muscles in the stomach and the interlining of glands and other organs, are controlled by the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nerves govern involuntary functions i.e., not under control. The autonomic nervous system is divided into two functional groups:

  • The sympathetic nervous system is in charge of increasing heart rate and accompanying flight or fight responses.
  • The parasympathetic nervous system is in charge of excretion, digestion, and other metabolic processes.

Cranial Nerves

The cranial nerves come from the lower side of the brain in 12 pairs. Smell, vision, facial and eye movement, tongue motions, and salivation are all controlled by the cranial nerves. From front to back, here are the cranial nerves mentioned: 

Cranial Nerves


FAQs on Nervous Tissue

Q1: What is the main function of the nerve tissue?


 Nervous tissue’s primary job is to receive inputs and transmit information to the brain and spinal cord. The nerves transmit these messages to the muscles.

Q2: What is a nervous tissue composed of?


The nerve tissue is referred to as a neuron. It is divided into three sections:

  • Dendrites 
  • Axon 
  • Cell Body

Q3: What are 4 examples of nervous tissue?


The 4 types of nervous tissue are present in CNS:

  1. Astrocytes
  2. Microglial Cells
  3. Oligodendrocytes
  4. Ependymal Cells

Q4: What are the two types of nervous tissue?


 The nerve tissue, also known as nervous tissue, is the primary tissue component of the nervous system’s two types:

  1. The central nervous system (CNS) 
  2. The peripheral nervous system (PNS).

Last Updated : 19 May, 2023
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