Recommended Reading

Read the ar from pp. 317-322, focusing in certain on the description of the sensory neurons in the skin (see figure 10.10 p 319). Chapter 11 provides information around the efferent department of the peripheral worried system. Figure 11.9 p. 367 offers a an extremely useful summary of the somatic efferent and autonomic efferent divisions.



The central nervous mechanism (CNS) is composed of the mind and spinal cord; everything outside the the dura mater is taken into consideration the peripheral nervous mechanism (PNS). The PNS have the right to be divided into two significant divisions based on the method that information flows. The afferent division consists of neurons that room bringing sensory information around the periphery toward the CNS, while the efferent department consists of neurons that are conveying info away from the CNS, and also out to manage muscles and also organs in the body. The efferent division is further divided into the somatic efferent division, which consists of neurons that manage skeletal muscles, and also the autonomic efferent division, which is composed of the neurons that control all other organs (collectively termed viscera).

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Spinal nerves are bundles the axons include both afferent and also efferent axons. But close come the spinal cord, the axons are separated into dorsal roots (afferent axons) and ventral roots (efferent axons).

Afferent Division

First let"s emphasis on the afferent division, as shown in the figure at right. Afferent neurons
have a unique structure the differs from many other neurons. Their dendrites (known specifically as sensory dendrites) are situated out in the periphery (many space in the skin). The sensory dendrites are straight attached come a long axon the projects right into the dorsal spinal cord via the dorsal root. The cabinet bodies that afferent neurons room clustered approximately the dorsal source in the dorsal source ganglion.

The figure at best is a short magnification see of a dorsal source ganglion (top) surrounding to the spinal cord (bottom). Just visible at this magnification are the large cell body of afferent neurons (purple circles). The pink material centrally is axons the the dorsal root.

The photo at the left shows a high magnification view of the dorsal root ganglion. The pink circles space axons
of the dorsal root. The large, pale purple circles are the cell bodies the the afferent neurons. The little dark nuclei that surround the neuronal cell bodies room the nuclei that satellite cells, a form of glial cell discovered in the dorsal root ganglia.

Afferent neurons are big cells compared to other cells (compare the neuronal nuclei through the satellite cell nuclei, for instance). Besides having actually a large cell body, the nucleus of a neuron has a significant nucleolus. This is the organelle situated within the nucleus the is responsible for developing ribosomal RNA. A influential nucleolus is a characteristic of cell that communicate in a many protein synthesis. (Note that a nucleus and also a nucleolus space not clearly shows in every neuronal cabinet body; due to the fact that this is a thin slice of tissue, and also sometimes the airplane of ar misses specific elements in a huge cell.)

Sensory dendrites might exist as free nerve endings, or they may be encapsulated in committed connective organization structures. Totally free nerve endings are daunting to see in histology slides without unique staining mechanisms. But two species of encapsulated touch sensors are easily visible in histological sections of skin: Pacinian corpuscles and Meissner"s corpuscles.

Pacinian corpuscle

Pacinian corpuscles are situated in the hypodermis (also known as the subcutaneous layer) of the skin. Your sensory dendrites are encapsulated in concentric layers of connective tissue, so they watch a little bit like onions. The afferent neurons associated with Pacinian corpuscles are quickly adapting, (see figure 10.7 p. 316 to understand what occurs in adaptation) for this reason they respond ideal to vibration.

In this low magnification view, 2 Pacinian corpuscles have the right to be checked out in the hypodermis. Simply to the left the the Pacinian corpuscles, there room several tiny nerves reduced in overcome section.

The high magnification watch at right allows you to view the concentric great of connective organization in the Pacinian corpuscle
. A cross-section of a nerve is checked out to the left.

Meissner"s corpuscle

Meissner"s corpuscles are situated in the upper component of the dermis, just under the epidermis. Meissner"s corpuscles feeling fine touch. This slide is native the palmar surface of the fingertip (the side wherein the fingerprint is). Meissner"s corpuscles are more abundant in this skin, making it much more sensitive to fine touch.

In this low magnification view, two Meissner"s corpuscles are clearly shows in the part of the dermis that protrudes right into the epidermal great (called a dermal papilla).

This picture is a high magnification view of the dermal papilla top top the right. The Meissner"s corpuscle
is the grayish structure in the center of the papilla. The sensory dendrites are installed in the great of connective tissue in the Meissner"s corpuscle.

Somatic Efferent Division

The somatic efferent department consists that neurons the innervate skeletal muscle. This somatic engine neurons
have actually their cabinet bodies in the ventral horn of the spinal cord. Their axons leaving the spinal cord via the ventral root. Castle synapse top top skeletal muscle cells, whereby they relax the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. The acetylcholine acts upon nicotinic acetylcholine receptors to reason an excitatory post synaptic potential. The synapse in between a somatic motor neuron and a skeletal muscle fiber is referred to as the neuromuscular junction.

The number at right is a low magnification see of a ar of the spinal cord at the sacral level. This organization is treated through a stain that causes a black color product come associate with myelin, so the central gray issue is light colored and also the outer white matter is dark. A ar from the sacral level will have actually lots of somatic motor neuron cell bodies since this region of the spinal cord innervates the legs. Somatic engine neurons have big cell bodies and even in ~ this low magnification, you can see some tan-colored cell bodies in the ventral horn

At greater magnification, the cabinet bodies the the somatic motor neurons
have the right to be seen. The cell core is just barely visible as a somewhat lighter region that surrounding the significant dark nucleolus.

Autonomic Efferent Division

The autonomic division provides innervation come all various other tissues that receive neural control. Targets the the autonomic nervous system incorporate cardiac muscle in the heart, smooth muscle in organs and blood vessels, and secretory cells in the cradle tract.

The company of the autonomic efferent division is more complicated than the somatic efferent division. Info must flow through 2 neurons together it travel to a target: a preganglionic neuron and a postganglionic neuron. The figure (above right) reflects this relationship. The preganglionic neuron has its cell human body in the central nervous system, through its axon in the ventral root. The axon travel to one autonomic ganglion, where it creates a synapse with a postganglionic cell. Postganglionic neurons synapse through target cells.

Another intricacy is that there space two main autonomic divisions: the sympathetic division and also the parasympathetic division. Often a target will obtain inputs from both sympathetic and parasympathetic neurons (dual innervation), through each department causing an the opposite effect. A advantageous organizing principle is to remember that sympathetic activity is activated during acutely stressful situations (the "fight-or-flight" response). Because that example, activation the the sympathetic concerned system causes an increased heart rate, dilation the the pupils, and also diversion that blood circulation to skeleton muscles. Through contrast, when the body is "resting and also digesting", parasympathetic concerned system task dominates. Parasympathetic intake reduces love rate and promotes cradle processes.

There space also key differences in the anatomical company of the sympathetic and also parasympathetic divisions. The cell bodies that parasympathetic preganglionic neurons are located in the brainstem and the sacral spinal cord. Parasympathetic preganglionic neurons have actually long axons due to the fact that parasympathetic ganglia are located close come targets. The cell bodies of sympathetic preganglionic neurons are situated in the lateral horn of the thoracic spinal cord. Sorry ganglia include sympathetic postganglionic neurons are for the most component located in a chain the ganglia close to the spinal cord (the sympathetic chain ganglia).

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Lastly, the sympathetic and parasympathetic postganglionic neurons release various neurotransmitters at target tissues. Sympathetic postganglionic neurons release the neurotransmitter norepinephrine (abbreviated NE)*. NE acts upon adrenergic receptors. Parasympathetic postganglionic neurons typically release the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (abbreviated ACh)*, which acts on muscarinic receptors. Both adrenergic and muscarinic receptors room G-protein combination receptors. The significance of this details is the drugs targeting this receptors are used to influence autonomic activity.


*There room a couple of exceptions to the rule that sorry postganglionic neurons relax NE and that parasympathetic postganglionic neurons relax ACh. In physiology, it seems there are constantly exceptions to every rule.

Optional: autonomic control of pupil diameter in the eye

The pupil is the feet in the facility of the iris that permits light to gain into the eye. The diameter that the pupil is regulated by smooth muscle in the iris the the eye. The pupil is in the facility of the eye and also appears black, while the iris is the colored portion that surrounding it. Autonomic regulate of pupil diameter is a classic example whereby the sympathetic and parasympathetic departments have antagonistic actions.


Refer to the figure at right. Sorry preganglionic neurons situated in the thoracic spinal cord activate sympathetic postganglionic neurons in the sympathetic ganglion chain. The sympathetic postganglionic neurons relax NE, i beg your pardon stimulates contraction of the radial muscle in the iris and causes the pupil come dilate (get larger). The parasympathetic preganglionic neurons are situated in a cell nucleus in the midbrain. They travel via a cranial nerve (the occulomotor nerve) to activate postganglionic neurons in the ciliary ganglion, i m sorry is located simply behind the eye. Parasympathetic postganglionic neurons relax ACh, i beg your pardon stimulates contraction in circular muscles in the iris and causes the pupil come constrict (get smaller).