Q:

What do dendrites do?

A:

Dendrites are a part of the central nervous system that receive input from nerve cells, which are sometimes called. Multiple fibers called dendrites extend in a branchlike formation from the cell body of a neuron. When the postsynaptic terminals, or receptors, at the end of a dendrite receive neurotransmitters released by other neurons, an electric signal is transmitted through the dendrite to the cell body of the neuron.

Dendrites receive nervous system signals through synapses, which form the connections between neurons where the axon terminal of one nerve cell ends near the dendrites of another nerve cell. Nerve cells do not physically touch each other. Instead, they communicate through the use of neurotransmitters that travel across the space called the synaptic cleft between the cells. An electrical signal travels down one neuron's axon and triggers the release of chemical compounds called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters move across the synaptic cleft and connect to the receptors on the other nerve cell. This triggers an electrical impulse that then travels from the dendrites to the cell body.

The typical neuron has thousands of dendrites, but it is possible for a nerve cell to have only one dendrite. Dendrites are relatively short, and they have spines that provide more surface area for other neurons to synapse with. Their branch-like formation inspired the name "dendrite," which means "tree" in Greek.

Learn More

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How does smoking affect your nervous system?

    A:

    Neuroscience for Kids states that smoking affects the nervous system by causing an increase in blood pressure, heart rate and respiration as well as constriction of arteries and stimulation of the central nervous system. Long-term exposure to tobacco results in addiction and dependence and also increases a person’s risks of getting cancer.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why do our feet have so many nerve endings if we are constantly stepping on them?

    A:

    The thousands of nerve endings in the human foot supply sensory feedback to the central nervous system, according to the Canadian Federation of Podiatric Medicine. The foot has more nerve endings per square inch than anywhere else in the body. Nerves constantly are sensing characteristics of the surface underfoot.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the difference between motor and sensory neurons?

    A:

    Motor neurons are cells that carry information from the central nervous system to the muscles and glands, while sensory neurons send signals from body parts to the central nervous system. Sensory neurons are found over the body, such as in the skin, ears, eyes, nose and tongue. Interneurons in the central nervous system allow information to flow between motor and sensory neurons.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the function of pia mater?

    A:

    The pia mater, the innermost membrane covering the central nervous system, protects delicate nerve tissue, supplies blood to the brain, and produces and circulates spinal fluid. It also connects different parts of the central nervous system to one another and provides support to the spinal cord.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore