Difference between Neuron and Nerve

Updated on April 6, 2016

Neurons and nerves are the two essential components that provide the functioning of the human nervous system. In this article, we will see what the differences between them are.


The structure of a neuron

The neuron is the cell that has the property of being electrically excitable, thus making it possible to convey information to other such cells. Together, neurons provide the environment for a flow of information from one neuron to another.

The neuron consists of several distinct components:

A cell body with its extensions known as dendrites, which are a means by which cells receive synaptic contacts from other neurons. Some synaptic contacts are connected directly to the cell body, but for the most part, the connection is done via dendrites. The latter also have some important microstructural features, which are called spines. Under a microscope they look like mushroom or filament-shaped protrusions. These spines provide a place for synaptic contact from other neurons.

The other extensions that grow out of the cell body of a neuron are called axons. These convey electrical messages to other cells in the organism

Trigeminal nerve
Trigeminal nerve in the human skull (highlighted in yellow)

In microbiology, a nerve refers to a tissue that contains the axons growing out of neurons’ cell bodies. Together this tissue, or bundle of axons, make up nerves, which serve as a sort of conducting zone, through which electronic or chemical information is transported throughout the human nervous systems.

Neuron vs Nerve

What is the difference between neuron and nerve?

Neuron and nerve are two different entities. The main difference is in their function. While neurons are responsible for generating electrical and chemical signals, nerves provide an environment for conducting these signals.

Comparison chart

Is an individual cellIs a number of cells
Electrical and chemical signals originate in neuronMake up a conducting zone for transporting signals from neurons


In this video you can see an analysis that explains the differences between neurons and nerves while providing observation on the functions of both:

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