What Is an Axon

An Axon is a cell structure which branches out. It is a unique feature of the cells of the nerves. To understand what an Axon are you should know a few details about nerve cells which are also called Neurons and their structure and their functioning. A membrane that is semi permeable covers the neurons and this membrane constitute the Axons. Axon acts as messengers passing on information from the neurons to other cells located in different parts of the body. If any interference takes place in the transmission of signals via the Axons the disorder is termed as degenerative neurological disorder.

The structure of the neuron consists of three essential elements. They are cell body, the various branching dendrites and the axons. The three elements have three different functions all relating to collecting and passing on information. The nucleus etc; is housed in the cell body. The dendrites gather information from different areas of the body and this information is carried to the neuron. The axon passes on the information from the neuron, to various regions of the body through electrical impulse.

The axon is insulated by sheath of fat throughout its length and any interference of the electrical signals is thus prevented. This sheath is called the myelin and is made up of fat cells. It is responsible for maintaining the color of the neural tissue in its characteristic white. The several branches which the axon has enabled the neuron to activate all the cells through only one signal. Every branch of the axon is capable of producing hundreds and thousands of such structures that are called synaptic terminals.

Interaction with other cells takes place by means of electrical signals. There are also neuro-transmitters called chemical messengers. The function of synaptic terminal is to contact a particular cell which has been targeted. The target may be another nerve cell or an ordinary cell like the blood cell or muscle fiber cell. The biological term of the point at which the target cell is contacted by the axon is called synapse. The point from where the axon takes off from the neuron is called the axon hillock. It is a place from where all the electrical impulses are generated.

The passage of electrical impulses from the neuron from the other cell is facilitated because the necessary voltage for the transmission of electrical impulse is created by neuron. It is done by control of the concentration of ions and channeling them through the axons. In effect the neuron acts as the load center in an electrical system. In this process the myelin sheath plays a critical role and its destruction is the main cause for the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

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