Difference Between Ganglia and Nuclei

Ganglia vs Nuclei
 

The difference between ganglia and nuclei is the location of those cells in the nervous system. All animals with the exception of sponges use a network of nerve cells to gather information from the external environment, to process this information, and to respond to that information via muscles and glands. Nervous system of higher animals such as vertebrates is more complex and can be divided into two major division based on the location of nerve cells or neurons. These two major divisions are central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system consists of brain and spinal cord, while the peripheral nervous system is made up of somatic and autonomic nervous system. Ganglia and nuclei are the collection of neuron cells found in the peripheral and central nervous system, respectively. Here, we will discuss about ganglia and nuclei and the difference between them in more detail.

What are Ganglia?

The group of cells bodies in the peripheral nervous system are known as ganglia. The axon pathways arising from these cell bodies are called nerves. Most ganglial cells are sensory neurons, which gather nerve information from the somatosensory system and motor neurons, which transfer processed information to muscles, glands, and internal organs in the body. In vertebrates, there are three types of ganglia, namely; (a) dorsal root ganglia (spinal ganglia), which contain the cell bodies of sensory nerves, (b) cranial nerve ganglia, which contain neurons of cranial nerves, and (c) autonomic ganglia, which consist of the cell bodies of autonomic nerves. Pseudoganglia is not actual ganglia made up of cell bodies, but only localized thickening of nerves that appear as cell bodies.

Difference Between Ganglia and Nuclei

What are Nuclei?

Nuclei are the clusters of neuron cells bodies found in the central nervous system. The paths of large axons arising from these cell bodies are called tracts of the central nervous system. Nuclei make the grey matter while tracts make the white matter in the central nervous system. Brian is a large collection of nuclei, where processing of information occur. Tracts that interconnect the groups of nuclei transfer the nerve impulse to their end points. Some of the major parts of the brain such as thalamus and hypothalamus are identified with the help of interconnected groups of nuclei. Even though the term ganglia is associated with peripheral nervous system, there are special multiple subcortical nuclei called basal ganglia in the brain. Basal ganglia are interconnected with cerebral cortex, thalamus, and brainstem of the brain and are linked with certain functions of the brain including motor control, emotions, cognition, and learning.

 Ganglia vs Nuclei

What is the difference between Ganglia and Nuclei?

• The collections of neuron cells located in central nervous system are called nuclei,

• The collections of neuron cells located in peripheral nervous system are called ganglia.

• The axon pathways arising from ganglia are called nerves of the peripheral nervous system and that arising from nuclei are called tracts of the central nervous system.

• Most ganglial cells are sensory neurons that gather nerve information whereas nuclei make the grey matter, where processing of information occur.

• Even though the term ganglia is associated with peripheral nervous system, there are special multiple subcortical nuclei called basal ganglia in the brain.

 

Images Courtesy:

  1. Parasympathetic Ganglion by Ed Uthman (CC BY 2.0)
  2. Human brain showing grey and white matter by Iamozy (CC BY-SA 1.0)