The nervous system is the collection of specialized cells responsible for maintaining an organism’s internal environment and coordinating the interaction of an organism with the external world—from the control of essential functions such as heart rate and breathing to the movement needed to escape danger.
The vertebrate nervous system is divided into two major parts: the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The CNS includes the brain, spinal cord, and retina—the sensory tissue of the visual system. The PNS contains the sensory receptor cells for all of the other sensory systems—such as the touch receptors in the skin—as well as the nerves that carry information between the CNS and the rest of the body. Additionally, part of both the CNS and PNS contribute to the autonomic nervous system (also known as the visceral motor system). The autonomic nervous system controls smooth muscles, cardiac muscles, and glands that govern involuntary actions, such as digestion. The vertebrate brain is primarily divided into the cerebrum, cerebellum, and brainstem. The cerebrum is the largest, most anterior part of the brain that is divided into left and right hemispheres. Each hemisphere is further divided into four lobes: frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal. The outermost layer of the cerebrum is called…
Core: Nervous System
Vaccination is the administration of antigenic material from pathogens to confer immunity against a specific microorganism. Vaccination primes the immune system to recognize and mount an immune response faster and more effectively if the real pathogen is encountered. Vaccinations are one of the most efficient ways to protect both individual humans and the general public from disease. A growing anti-vaccination skepticism risks the successes of vaccination programs that helped reduce and, in some instances, eradicate fatal diseases. Vaccines can be administered via oral and intranasal routes, as well as by injection into the muscle (intramuscular), the fat layer under the skin (subcutaneous), or the skin (intradermal). Vaccines contain antigens derived from a specific pathogen. Those containing “dead” antigens, which are intact but unable to replicate, are referred to as inactive vaccines. By contrast, subunit vaccines contain only parts of the pathogen. Some vaccines contain the live pathogen in a weakened (attenuated) form. An attenuated pathogen stimulates the immune system without causing severe disease. Vaccines often contain adjuvants, chemicals that enhance the immune response against the pathogen. When a vaccine is administered, antigen-presenting immune cells (APCs), such as dendritic cells or macrophages, engulf the antigen from the v…
Core: Immune System
1Individualized Program, Concordia University, 2Department of Exercise Science, Concordia University, 3Centre de Recherche, Axe Maladies Chroniques, Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal