What is an Axon Terminal?
An axon terminal is the distal part of an axon that is involved in the conduction of electrical impulses to other neurons also through another axon terminal. A typical neuron has a cell body, an elongated axon, and the axon terminals at the distal end. Neurons are excitable cells that serve as the main components of the body’s nervous system. Electric and/or chemical signals in the body are transmitted through neurons.
Two special types of neurons exist in the body and both types are composed of the typical parts like the cell body, dendrites, axon, and axon terminals. One special type of neuron is called the motor neuron. This type of neuron transmits signals from the brain and spinal cord to the various tissues and organs of the body like the muscles and bones. Because of motor neurons, the body will be able to move by means of movement and muscle contraction. The other type of neurons is called sensory neuron. The signals that are transmitted through these types of neurons travel from the skin or from the external environment to the brain. Signals such as smell, touch, sound, and light are transmitted to the brain for interpretation.
But without the axon and axon terminals, nerve impulses or signals will not be able to reach its supposed destination. These signals must be able to pass through from one neuron to another through the axon terminals without these terminals having to literally touch each other. It is said that axons that are bigger in size are also able to transmit signals much faster than smaller-sized axons. There are also several axons that have an outer covering called myelin sheath. Having such an outer covering also enables to axon to transmit signals efficiently and quickly through their distal terminals. Damage to these myelin sheaths will impair nerve impulse conduction and result to faulty movement, coordination, or sensation.