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Cells of the Nervous System

The central nervous system (CNS) controls most bodily functions. Consisting of the brain and spinal cord, it is responsible for collecting and integrating sensory information, and then initiating an appropriate response. The brain and spinal cord are composed of two main classes of cells: neurons and glial cells. Neurons are electrically excitable cells that receive incoming information, process it, and transmit a signal to other neurons, muscle cells, or glands. Glial cells are the support cells of the CNS. There are three types of glial cells in the mature CNS: microglia, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. The most well-established functions of glial cells are the maintenance of homeostasis of the neural environment, insulation of axons, and immune surveillance. However, these cells have also been shown to modulate neural communication, mainly by controlling neurotransmitter reuptake, support neural development, and help with tissue repair following neural injury. R&D Systems offers a range of research tools needed for investigating the functioning of neural cells.