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The neurons that give rise to nerves do not lie entirely within the nerves themselves—their cell bodies reside within the brain, spinal cord, or peripheral ganglia Glial cells (named from the Greek for "glue") are non-neuronal cells that provide support and nutrition, maintain homeostasis, form myelin, and participate in signal transmission in the nervous system.In the human brain, it is estimated that the total number of glia roughly equals the number of neurons, although the proportions vary in different brain areas.The sensory information from these organs is processed by the brain.In insects, many neurons have cell bodies that are positioned at the edge of the brain and are electrically passive—the cell bodies serve only to provide metabolic support and do not participate in signalling.There is an anatomical convention that a cluster of neurons in the brain or spinal cord is called a nucleus, whereas a cluster of neurons in the periphery is called a ganglion.There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule, notably including the part of the forebrain called the basal ganglia Arthropods, such as insects and crustaceans, have a nervous system made up of a series of ganglia, connected by a ventral nerve cord made up of two parallel connectives running along the length of the belly.

Many arthropods have well-developed sensory organs, including compound eyes for vision and antennae for olfaction and pheromone sensation.Grey matter (which is only grey in preserved tissue, and is better described as pink or light brown in living tissue) contains a high proportion of cell bodies of neurons.White matter is composed mainly of myelinated axons, and takes its color from the myelin.Recent findings indicate that glial cells, such as microglia and astrocytes, serve as important resident immune cells within the central nervous system.The vertebrate nervous system can also be divided into areas called grey matter ("gray matter" in American spelling) and white matter.

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