Difference Between Axons and Dendrites

Our brain has a network of neurons to communicate with other cells and carry out various complex tasks of our body. Axons and dendrites are both parts of a neuron.


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Axons vs Dendrites

The difference between dendrites and axon is that dendrites receive information as electrical signals with the help of small receptors present on their surface. This signal passes through the cell body into the axon.

Axons vs Dendrites

There are small branch-like projections at its terminal which establish a connection with other dendrites and pass the electrical signal to communicate with other neurons.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAxonsDendrites
ShapeElongated fibre like
A small branch like
LengthIt is the longest part of a neuron.A dendrite is comparatively shorter.
StructureIt contains neurofibrils but
lacks Nissl’s granules and
forms a synaptic knot at
the end.
It contains both neuro-
fibrils and Nissl’s granules.
but does not form a synaptic
knot at the end.
Number (in a single neuron)A neuron has just one axon ( sometimes arising directly from a dendrite, but generally originated from the soma or cell body).A neuron has many dendrites originated from the cell body.
FunctionIt transmits the electrical signal from the soma or cell body
to the dendrite of another
Dendrite receives the electric signal
from axon through the
synaptic knot and brings it to
the cell body of the

What is Axon?

An axon passes the information from the cell body (Soma) to the dendrite of another neuron in the form of an electrical impulse through the synaptic gap. These axons can be a few millimetres to more than one metre long.

An axon is the long projection of a neuron with branch-like structures at the end. It is connected with the cell body of the neuron (Soma) through axon hillock. It consists of a microtubule and some microfilaments.

Scientists believe that these structures help in transporting nutrients and electrical impulse from the cell body to the axon. It is surrounded by a Myelin sheath (a kind of fatty material) in the form of Schwann cells.

At its end, the neuron splits into branch-like structures called telodendron whose end part is known as an axon terminal.

A neuron generally has one axon originating from the cell body but sometimes axons arise directly from the dendrite.

What is Dendrite?

A dendrite is a small branch-like projection of a neuron. Dendrites have small spine-like structures on its surface on which the axon of another neuron get attached through the synaptic gap.

The axon passes the information towards its terminal where dendrite receives the information in this synaptic gap through small receptors present on the surface of its spine.

Dendrites contain structures like ribosomes, smooth endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus and cytoskeletal structures.

A large number of dendrites with a branch-like structure increases the surface area of a neuron to connect with other neurons.

Main Differences Between Axon and Dendrite

  1. An axon may be originated directly from an axon but a dendrite does not arise from an axon.
  2. A dendrite has several receptors on its surface to receive the electrical impulse in the form of some kind of chemical which again turned into an electrical signal or impulse before sending it to the cell body (soma), but axons lack such receptors.


  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/6268815/?casa_token=s544zcKUO2YAAAAA:rN41VzA3auSOWE4MX7T3671hagvt2NWBl7fayF0Imz7PJq7WUuBCwDrEy0HE8X0MDZcqaJyMm7Y
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S095943889900046X
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