- A short arm-like protuberance from a nerve cell (a neuron). Dendrites from neurons next to one another are tipped by synapses (tiny transmitters and receivers for chemical messages between the cells). The word "dendrite" means "branched like a tree." It comes from the Greek "dendron" (tree). See also neuron and axon.
* * *1. One of the two types of branching protoplasmic processes of the nerve cell (the other being the axon). SYN: dendritic process, dendron, neurodendrite, neurodendron. 2. A crystalline treelike structure formed during the freezing of an alloy. [G. dendrites, relating to a tree]
* * *den·drite 'den-.drīt n any of the usu. branching protoplasmic processes that conduct impulses toward the body of a nerve cellden·drit·ic den-'drit-ik adj
* * *n.one of the shorter branching processes of the cell body of a neurone, which makes contact with other neurones at synapses and carries nerve impulses from them into the cell body.
* * *den·drite (denґdrīt) [Gr. dendron tree] 1. one of the threadlike extensions of the cytoplasm of a neuron (q.v.), which typically branch into tree-like processes. In unipolar and bipolar neurons, there is a single dendrite, which proximally resembles an axon but branches distally; in multipolar neurons there are many short, branching dendrites. Dendrites compose most of the receptive surface of a neuron. Called also dendron, neurodendrite, and neurodendron. See illustration. 2. dendritic ulcer.
Dendrites (green arrows) and axon (blue arrow) of a motor neuron, with a dense surround of neuronal processes, in a preparation of spinal cord gray matter stained for neurofibrils.
Medical dictionary. 2011.