Nervous system is one of the very important organ systems in our bodies. One could argue it is the most evolved organ system of human beings because man has always moved a few steps ahead with the brain functioning, being the most intelligent species on planet earth. Scientists assume the intelligence is a feature of having very complex neuron structure and activity in the brain. Not all living beings have similar nervous systems. Primitive species have no organized nerve structures to call it a “system”. Nerves and neurons are two main components in our nervous system. Although they sound alike, they mean very different things.
Neural means “pertaining to nerve”. There are 3 types of nerves; Afferent nerves, efferent nerves and mixed nerves. Afferent nerves carry signals from sensory organs to central nervous system. Efferent nerves carry signals from central nervous system to muscles and glands. Mixed nerves carry signals in between acting like an exchanger. Nerves can be also classified as cranial nerves and spinal nerves. Spinal nerves connect almost all nerves in the body to the spinal column and cranial nerves carry signals to-from the brain.
A nerve is made up of several parts; mainly axons. Depending on the type of nerve the axons differ. A nerve has a three layer cover. The most inner layer endoneurium covers the nerve fibre. A middle layer perineurim and the outer most cover epineurium are also present. In addition, some blood vessels are also found in close association. The nerves compared to neurons are more bigger and complex structures. All the above mentioned components are “neuronal”; belonging to nerves. Neural damage can be responsible for many disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome, immunological diseases like Gulliain- Barre syndrome, and neuritis. This can be identified through symptoms such as paralysis, pain, numbness, etc.
Neuronal means “pertaining to neuron”. This is considered as the building block of the nervous system; the structural unit. Neurons are found in brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Depending on the function, neurons can be divided into two types – motor neurons and sensory neurons. Sensory neurons take signals from sensor organs and take them to the brain and spinal cord. Motor neurons take signals out of the brain and spinal cord and carry them to the relevant organs.
Neuron is made up of “neuronal” components such as soma, nucleus, dendrite tree extensions, and many axons. Axon terminals maintain the integrity with other axons through synapses. A synapse is a functional gap, where the electrochemical signaling is carried by neurotransmitters. Neuronal damage can cause diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s any many more. Neuronal damage can be spotted by symptoms; short-term memory loss, tremors, muscle rigidity, loss of sensory perception etc.
What is the difference between Neural and Neuronal?
• Neural means belonging to nerves, which is made up of neurons coming together. Neuronal means belonging to neurons which are actually cells-the building blocks of the nervous system.
• Neural damage and Neuronal damage can cause very different diseases and very different symptoms.