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What is a multipolar neuron?

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Quick Answer

Multipolar neurons are neurons that have one axon and many dendrites. These dendrites or multi-processes give the neuron many connection points to other neurons. Multipolar neurons function as either motor or association neurons, which includes moving muscles and conducting impulses.

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Full Answer

Get Body Smart defines multipolar neurons as neurons that have more than three dendrites. In fact, the vast majority of neurons are multipolar, although they differ in shape depending on the jobs they do.

Pyramid cells are multipolar neurons found in the brain. These neurons relay impulses down to the nerves in the spinal column. The nerves in the spinal column, also multipolar neurons, are called motor neurons. These contract and relax muscles. Purkinje cells, multipolar neurons with the most dendrites and branches, are located in the brain and adjust the action of the muscles accordingly.

According to How Stuff Works, a multipolar neuron is made up of an axon, which are nerve fibers insulated in a myelin sheath. The myelin sheath is made up of proteins and phospholipids that protect the nerve fibers while speeding along nerve impulses. The axon connects the tail or synapses with the cell body where the nucleus is found. The dendrites are attached to the cell body, which connect to the synapses of another nerve cell.

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