Biology

Difference between axon and dendrites

Main difference

The central nervous system is one of the main systems in our body. It controls our body in different ways. It has nerves that carry signals from the central nervous system to parts of the body. The basic unit of the central nervous system is the neuron. It is defined as a specialized cell that transmits nerve impulses; it is also called a nerve cell. Axons and dendrites are part of the neuron. The axon is the long, thread-like part of a neuron along which the nerve impulse travels from the cell body to other parts, whereas a dendrite is an extension of a short part of a neuron through the which impulses are received from the center and then transmitted to the cell body or axon of a neuron. In simple words, axons are the output of the neuron and dendrites are the input of the neuron. Dendrites receive information from the external or internal environment and transmit information to the cell body and axon of a neuron. The dendrites are multiple and short, while the axon is single, but varies in length.

Comparative chart

Axon Dendrite
Function Axon removes information or impulses from the cell body. The dendrite provides information or impulse to the cell body of the neuron.
Ribosomes and myelin sheath Axons do not have ribosomes, although they may have a myelin sheath. Dendrites have ribosomes but do not have a myelin sheath around them.
Branches The axons have branches distant from the cell body, and these branches are present at the terminal point or terminal of the axon of the neuron. Dendrites have branches near the cell body and these branches are present at the origin of the neuron.
Nissl granules The axons do not contain Nissl granules. The dendrites have Nissl granules.
Vesicles Axons have vesicles that contain neurotransmitters. The dendrites do not have vesicles.
What are Axon?

Axon is derived from a Greek word meaning axis. The axon is the output of the neuron. Its function is to transfer information from the body of the neuron to the other part of the body or to the other neuron. Axons have a uniform diameter and a smooth surface. There is only one axon per cell. The axon begins as a mound of axons, which is an inflammation at the junction between the soma and the axon of a neuron. It has many sodium (Na) channels that aid in the generation of action potential throughout the neuron. Axons are usually long and end as terminal axons in the other neuron or part of the body. Note that the axon has branches only at its terminal. Axons also have many vesicles in which different neurotransmitters are present. It also has calcium (Ca) channels in its membrane. The axons do not contain Nissl granules. It also does not have a ribosome. Axons are of two types: myelinated axons and unmyelinated axons. Myelinated axons have a myelin sheath around them. The myelin sheath acts as an insulator and also forms nodes of Ranvier that aid in the conduction of salute. Unmyelinated axons lack a myelin sheath around them. Axons terminate via a synapse, if the axon of one neuron is connected to the axon of another neuron, it is called axoaxonal. If the axon of one neuron is connected to the dendrite of another neuron, it is called an axodendritic. And if the axon of a neuron is directly connected to the soma, it is known as axosomatic. Axons also form neuromuscular junctions in muscle by directly terminating at them. Unmyelinated axons lack a myelin sheath around them. Axons terminate via a synapse, if the axon of one neuron is connected to the axon of another neuron, it is called axoaxonal. If the axon of one neuron is connected to the dendrite of another neuron, it is called an axodendritic. And if the axon of a neuron is directly connected to the soma, it is known as axosomatic. Axons also form neuromuscular junctions in muscle by directly terminating at them. Unmyelinated axons lack a myelin sheath around them. Axons terminate via a synapse, if the axon of one neuron is connected to the axon of another neuron, it is called axoaxonal. If the axon of one neuron is connected to the dendrite of another neuron, it is called an axodendritic. And if the axon of a neuron is directly connected to the soma, it is known as axosomatic. Axons also form neuromuscular junctions in muscle by directly terminating at them.

What are dendrites?

Dendrite is derived from a Greek word for tree. The dendrite is the input of the neuron. Its function is to receive information from the center and transmit it to the cell body of the neuron. Axons have a non-uniform diameter and a rough surface. There are many dendrites per cell. The dendrite receives information from the environment and transmits it to the cell body and axon of a neuron. Dendrites are numerous in a single neuron and are relatively shorter compared to axons; it also has many branches that are present only at its source. If the dendrite of one neuron is connected to the axon of the other neuron, it is known as axodendritic. And if the dendrites are connected to the dendrite of another neuron, it is known as dendrodendritic. Dendrites contain Nissl granules and have ribosomes.

Axon versus dendrite
  • The axon removes information or impulses from the cell body, while the dendrites carry information or impulses to the cell body of the neuron.
  • Axons are long and single per cell, while dendrites are short and multiple per cell.
  • Axons do not have ribosomes, although they may have a myelin sheath, while dendrites have ribosomes but do not have a myelin sheath around them.
  • Axons have branches away from the cell body, and these branches are present at the terminal or terminal point of the axon of a neuron and, conversely, dendrites have branches close to the cell body, and these branches are present at the origin of the neuron .
  • Axons do not contain Nissl granules, on the other hand, dendrites have Nissl granules.
  • The axons have vesicles that contain neurotransmitters, but the dendrite does not have vesicles.

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