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George E. Carvell, PhD, PT   University of Pittsburgh
 
NEURON MORPHOLOGIES IN THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM
BC&P Fig. 2.20, p. 45
BC&P Fig. 2.5, p. 26
BC&P Fig. 2.6, p. 26
There are two basic types of neurons in the cerebrum: pyramidal and non-pyramidal. Pyramidal cells are typically neurons that project their axon to near or distant locations (corticofugal projection neurons, corticocortical neurons, callosal neurons). Non-pyramidal cells have a greater variety of morphologies and are typically local interneurons that project their axons to other neurons in the immediate vicinity. One type is the spiny stellate neuron that is an excitatory interneuron. Another is the smooth or sparsely-spiny stellate cell that typically is an inhibitory interneuron.
Stellate Cells are Local Interneurons in the Cerebral Cortex and Other Gray Matter Areas
(See home page cell)
Pyramidal Cells are Cerebral Cortical Projection Neurons
S. Ramón y Cajal (fig 2.5) was an early pioneer in the quest to identify the neuronal components of the brain. Cajal is noted for his precise and exquisite drawings of various portions of the CNS. His work was made possible by a new technique developed by a contemporary C. Golgi. The Golgi stain provided visualization of cells and their neurites. The stain is unusual in that only a small proportion of cells are stained, allowing one to trace details of dendritic trees & axons.