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The concept of dendrite it is used to name a protoplasmic extension with ramifications that is part of a cell nervous and allows it to receive stimulation from the outside environment. The dendrites, therefore, are terminal ramifications present in the neurons which guarantee the reception of nerve impulses that arrive from an axon corresponding to another neuron.

Dendrite, experts say, is the portion of the neuron that receives excitation from stimuli generated by other cells or environments. He axon , for its part, is responsible for distributing said excitation from the dendritic area.

It should be noted that these branched and numerous extensions have other smaller extensions known as dendritic spines , which are the places where the synapse .

In case of some disorder in the dendritic spines, problems related to cognition develop. He Down's Syndrome It is one of the diseases related to atrophy or to the bad development of these extensions of dendrites.

The dendrites, whose cytoplasm It presents mitochondria, microtubules, membranous vesicles and neurofilaments, they have chemoreceptors that react with the neurotransmitters that send the synaptic vesicles of presynaptic neurons. This means that dendrites are essential for the transmission of impulses through the nerve pathway formed by neurons.

It should be noted that the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) Accept other uses of the concept of dendrite. The term can then be used to refer to the mineral structure which, with an appearance similar to the branches of the trees, appears in the cracks and joints of the rocks. Another use of the notion is found in the engineering , where dendrite is a metallic crystal that is produced by solidification and whose structure resembles a tree with many branches.

The role of dendrites in neurodegenerative diseases

Thanks to a study conducted in the University of Pennsylvania, it has been discovered that the work of dendrites is not restricted solely to receiving and sending chemical and electrical signals but they can also create proteins (It was previously believed that the only area of ​​the cell where it could be made was the nucleus).

This would highlight the fundamental role of these nerve extensions in the memory and learning process and turn them into a fundamental element when triggering neurodegenerative diseases. This is because a minimal error in the coding of the RNA could result in a protein malformation that could damage the brain circuits that allow the normal functioning of memory, affecting it inevitably.

This new discovery could be fundamental when studying ways to cure or prevent diseases of this type such as Alzheimer's. This sickness It is a progressive type and a form of recovery is not yet known for her. It is a disease that affects nerve cells in different regions of the brain, causing a dysfunction in it; so that the individual loses all ability to control their emotions, recognize patterns, coordinate movements and remember things. Among dementias, this is the most common especially in people of an advanced age and is the fourth leading cause of death in adults.

There are also other diseases related to dendrites, many of them linked exclusively to dendritic spines, which we have already discussed in previous paragraphs. Among them are the vertebral disorders such as diseases of the spine (where deviations are usually the most common), bone problems (where fractures are the most common) or even muscular atrophy or problems of various kinds in any muscle of the body.

All this would lead us to understand that the role of dendrites is much more essential than what was believed so far and that, it would open new paths for investigations to counteract the effects of degenerative diseases.

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