Pyramidal neuron

Trying to weigh up the relative importance of different types of neuron is pretty much a waste of time. Despite this many neuroscientists have their favourites, just as many geneticists have their favourite gene and I imagine astronomers have their favourite galaxy. Some will glory in finding the most obscure or quirky example, some will go with what is right there in front of them. If you look at brain slices or are poking around in the brain with electrodes then you are unlikely to miss pyramidal neurons. They are among the largest and most abundant neurons in the brain and were the subject of many of Cajal and Golgi’s pioneering drawings. The name is derived from their characteristic shape with a cone-shaped cell body and this together with their size and abudance have meant they’ve been intensively studied. They are an important part of the brain’s excitatory system that uses glutamate as a neurotransmitter. I’m no expert in them but the opportunity to use them as the basis for a cartoon was too good to pass up. You can find out more about them in this quick guide.

This design is available on a range of cool merchandise from my RedBubble store.

A more realistic depiction of a pyramidal neuron, available from SciDraw

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