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Dendrites are short branching projections from the central body of a neuron. They receive electrochemical signals from surrounding neurons, usually from axons. Dendrites of different neurons are often grouped together so they can all receive neurotransmitters from a single axon. When a dendrite is stimulated, it usually determines how the neuron will react in response to the stimulus.
Dendrites develop throughout an individual's life and respond to environmental factors such as sensory input, environmental pollutants, body temperature and drug use. Different classes of neurons generally have identifiable patterns of dendritic growth.