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Axon

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Definition

noun, plural: axons

A long slender fibre of a neuron and is responsible for conducting nerve impulses away from the cell soma to a synapse


Supplement

A neuron is a cell of the nervous system characterized by having specialized cell parts, e.g. soma, dendrites, and axons. The soma is the cell body of the neuron. The dendrites and the axons are the cellular processes. An axon though is longer than a dendrite. The axon is responsible for carrying efferent (outgoing) action potentials from the cell body towards target cells.

An axon is a long process of a neuron (or nerve cell) involved in the conduction of nerve impulse away from the cell body. Each nerve cell has one axon, which can be over a foot long. A nerve cell communicates with another nerve cell by transmitting signals from the branches at the end of its axon. At the terminal end of the axon, the impulses are transmitted to other nerve cells or to effector organs.

In the peripheral nervous system, the larger (myelinated) axons are surrounded by a myelin sheath formed by concentric layers of plasma membrane of the schwann cell.

In the central nervous system, the function of the schwann cell is supplied by oligodendrocytes (oligodendroglia).


Word origin: Greek áxōn (“axis”)

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Related form(s):

  • axonal (adjective)