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In the nervous system, Afferent pathways are made of bundles of afferent neurons --otherwise known as sensory or receptor neurons-- which carry nerve impulses from receptors or sense organs toward the central nervous system.
In the nervous system there is a "closed loop" system of sensation, decision, and reactions. This process is carried out through the activity of afferent neurons, interneurons, and efferent neurons.
A touch or painful stimulus, for example, creates a sensation in the brain only after information about the stimulus travels there via afferent nerve pathways. Afferent neurons are pseudounipolar neurons, that have a single long dendrite and a short axon, and a smooth and rounded cell body. The dendrite is structurally and functionally similar to an axon, and is myelinated; it is these axon-like dendrites that make up the afferent nerves. Just outside the spinal cord, thousands of afferent neuronal cell bodies are aggregated in a swelling in the dorsal root known as the dorsal root ganglion. (See efferent nerve.)
Etymology and mnemonics[edit | edit source]
Both afferent and efferent come from french, as evolution from latin (much used in medicine) of respectively ad ferentes (latin verb fero : I carry), meaning carrying into, and ex ferentes, meaning carrying away. Ad and ex give an easy mnemonic device for remembering the relationship between afferent and efferent : afferent connection arrives and an efferent connection exits.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Dorsal horns
- Efferent pathways
- Leminiscal system
- Projection fibers
- Spinalthalamic tracts
- Receptor fields
References[edit | edit source]
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