Neuroscience: A Journey Through the Brain

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The Structure of a Neuron: The Synaptic Terminal (Synaptic Boutons)

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Structure sub categories: Axon    Boutons    Dendrites    Hillock    Myelin    Soma

The axon terminates in the form of synpatic boutons, so named because of their swollen shape. The terminal is the site where axons come into contact with other neurons and communicate with them. Small molecule neurotransmitters, such as monoamines, are synthesized in the terminal, and released into the space between neurons, called the synapse. The term for an axon making synaptic contact with another axon or a target cell is Innervation.

The axon terminal is different from the rest of the axon in 3 respects:

1. No microtubules extend into the terminal.
2. The terminal contains numerous small bubbles of membrane called synaptic vesicles, which are the storage location for neurotransmitters.
3. The terminal has numerous mitochondria, indicating that it requires a large amount of energy.

Created and Maintained by: Melissa Davies
Last Updated: April 09, 2002 08:55 PM