What are axon terminals at the end of neurons in the brain?

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The neuron is a basic brain cell. It has four essential parts. The third of these four parts is the axon. The axon functions to transmit outgoing messages from the neuron, and a neuron has only one axon (pathway for outward-bound messages). At the end of the axon is the fourth of the four component parts of a neuron, it is called the axon terminal.

Axon terminals contain neurotransmitters, which are the chemical medium that convey the exchange of messages across synapses that bridge the gap between neurons. Axon terminals send axon messages across synapses via neurochemical transmitters to the message receiving dendrites of another neuron.

The other two parts of a neuron are the cell body, called the soma, which is the first part of a neuron, and the dendrites, which is the second part of a neuron. The soma is where neuron metabolism is centralized  and where neuronal proteins are synthesized.

Dendrites receive incoming neuro-messages, and a neuron has many dendrites whereas it has only one out-going message axon. While axons send neural messages that cross synapses, which are located at the axon terminal, via neurochemical transmitters that are contained in axon terminals, dendrites receive incoming messages coming across synapses as they are transmitted through neurochemical transmitters originating in axon terminals.