Axons: Definition & Function

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: John Williams
In the nervous system, neurons communicate cell to cell through electrochemical stimulation, which is mediated by a part of the neuron called the axon. Discover the structure and function of an axon and how it's used in cell communication. Updated: 09/15/2021

Introduction to Axon

If we compared the human body to a computer, then the nervous system would be the motherboard. It is the main control unit for the body, and through the nervous system, other functions in the body are regulated. Therefore, the nervous system is one of the most important systems in the human body as its effects can be seen in all other systems.

The nervous system communicates through the use of cells, called neurons. These cells participate in cell-to-cell communication for the purposes of regulating bodily processes. This is done through the generation of electrochemical stimulation that relays from neurons to other neurons and effector (target) cell. The delivery of this stimulation is going to be mediated by a portion of the neuron known as the axon.

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Constriction: Definition & Meaning

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Introduction To Axons
  • 0:48 Structures Of Axons
  • 1:42 Communication Via Axons
  • 2:42 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed

Structures of Axons

Axons are extended regions of the neuron cell membrane. It starts from a portion of the cell body, known as the axon hillock. From there, the axon extends towards the target cell to what is known as the terminal. Along the cell membrane of the axon will be ion channels and ATP-driven pumps that will regulate ion concentrations within the axon. These ion concentrations will establish the resting membrane potential, which is the electrochemical charge of the membrane when the neuron is at rest.

Some axons will also have additional structures to assist with communications. In areas of the nervous system that require faster communication, the axons will contain insulation, known as myelin sheaths. This insulation speeds up the transmission of cell-to-cell communication and stimulation. Not all axons will have these sheaths, but the ones that do function quicker.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it now
Create an account to start this course today
Used by over 30 million students worldwide
Create an account