HENNING DALHOFF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY HENNING DALHOFF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Artwork of a motor neurone (nerve) cell and muscle fibres. It shows the neuromuscular synapses, the connection points between a motor neurone axon (blue) and the skeletal muscle fibres that it controls (pink). The end of a motor neurone axon divides into branches, each one terminating on a different muscle fibre. A single axon thereby has the ability to activate up to several hundred muscle fibres. The end of each branch divides to form a cluster of small swellings known as motor end plates on the muscle fibre surface. These transmit electrical signals (action potentials), to activate or inhibit muscle activity.
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