A nerve cell that sends and receives electrical signals over long distances within the body. A neuron may send electrical output signals to muscle neurons (called motor neurons or motoneurons) and to other neurons. A neuron may receive electrical input signals from sensory cells (called sensory neurons) and from other neurons. A neuron that simply signals another neuron is called an interneuron.
The word “neuron” comes straight from the Greek meaning “a sinew, tendon, thong, string, or wire.” The term was introduced to designate a nerve cell by the English physiologist Sir Charles Scott Sherrington (1857-1952). Sherrington was an influential figure in the development of neurophysiology (the intersection between neurology and physiology), clinical neurology and neurosurgery (“brain surgery”). He worked at Oxford University. Aside from the “neuron,” he also coined other useful terms including “synapse.” Sherrington shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 1932 with Lord Edgar Douglas Adrian of Cambridge University for “their discoveries regarding the functions of neurons.”
Common Misspellings: nuron