Diane Mccarthy

Which Neurons Receive Information From Sensory Organs And Relay That Information To The Spinal Cord And Brain?

Asked by Diane Mccarthy 4 years ago brain information

Diane Mccarthy
The peripheral nervous system (PNS) includes sensory receptors, sensory neurons, and motor neurons. Sensory receptors are activated by a stimulus (change in the internal or external environment). The stimulus is converted to an electronic signal and transmitted to a sensory neuron. Sensory neurons connect sensory receptors to the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS processes the signal, and transmits a message back to an effector organ (an organ that responds to a nerve impulse from the CNS) through a motor neuron.

The PNS has two parts: The somatic nervous system and the autonomic nervous system. The somatic nervous system, or voluntary nervous system, enables humans to react consciously to environmental changes. It includes 31 pairs of spinal nerves and 12 pairs of cranial nerves. This system controls movements of skeletal (voluntary) muscles.

Thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves emerge from various segments of the spinal cord. Each spinal nerve has a dorsal root and a ventral root. The dorsal root contains afferent (sensory) fibers that transmit information to the spinal cord from the sensory receptors. The ventral root contains efferent (motor) fibers that carry messages from the spinal  cord to the effectors. Cell bodies of the efferent fibers reside in the spinal cord gray matter. These roots become nerves that innervate (transmit nerve impulses to) muscles and organs throughout the body.
Twelve pairs of cranial nerves transmit from special sensory receptors information on the senses of balance, smell, sight, taste, and hearing. Cranial nerves also carry information from general sensory receptors in the body, mostly from the head region. This information is processed in the CNS; the resulting orders travel back through the cranial nerves to the skeletal muscles that control movements in the face and throat, such as for smiling and swallowing. In addition, some cranial nerves contain somatic and autonomic motor fibers.

The involuntary nervous system (autonomic nervous system) maintains homeostasis. As its name implies, this system works automatically and without voluntary input. Its parts include receptors within viscera (internal organs), the afferent nerves that relay the information to the CNS, and the efferent nerves that relay the action back to the effectors. The effectors in this system are smooth muscle, cardiac muscle and glands, all structures that function without conscious control.

An example of autonomic control is movement of food through the digestive tract during sleep. The efferent portion of the autonomic system is divided into sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. The sympathetic nerves mobilize energy for the 'Fight or Flight' reaction during stress, causing increased blood pressure, breathing rate, and bloodflow to muscles.

Conversely, the parasympathetic nerves have a calming effect; they slow the heartbeat and breathing rate, and promote digestion and elimination. This example of intimate interaction with the endocrine system is one of many that explain why the two systems are called the neuroendocrine system.

The relationship between sensory and motor neurons can be seen in a reflex (rapid motor response to a stimulus). Reflexes are quick because they involve few neurons. Reflexes are either somatic (resulting in contraction of skeletal muscle) or autonomic (activation of smooth and cardiac muscle). All reflex arcs have five basic elements: A receptor, sensory neuron, integration center (CNS), motor neuron, and effector.

Spinal reflexes are somatic reflexes mediated by the spinal cord. These can involve higher brain centers. In a spinal reflex, the message is simultaneously sent to the spinal cord and brain. The reflex triggers the response without waiting for brain analysis. If a finger touches something hot, the finger jerks away from the danger. The burning sensation becomes an impulse in the sensory neurons. These neurons synapse in the spinal cord with motor neurons that cause the burned finger to pull away. This spinal reflex is a flexor, or withdrawal reflex.

The stretch reflex occurs when a muscle or its tendon is struck. The jolt causes the muscle to contract and inhibits antagonist muscle contraction. A familiar example is the patellar reflex, or knee-jerk reflex, that occurs when the patellar tendon is struck. The impulse travels via afferent neurons to the spinal cord where the message is interpreted.

Two messages are sent back, one causing the quadriceps muscles to contract and the other inhibiting the antagonist hamstring muscles from contracting. The contraction of the quadriceps and inhibition of hamstrings cause the lower leg to kick, or knee-jerk.

The sense organs are highly specialized structures that receive information from the environment. These organs contain special sense receptors ranging from complex structures, such as eyes and ears, to small localized clusters of receptors, such as taste buds and olfactory epithelium (receptors for smell).

Smell and taste are chemical senses, which contain chemoreceptors that respond to chemicals in solution. Food chemicals dissolved in saliva stimulate taste receptors in taste buds. The nasal membranes produce fluids that dissolve chemicals in air. These chemicals stimulate smell receptors in olfactory epithelium. The chemical senses complement each other and respond to many of the same stimuli.

Photoreceptors, which include rods and cones, in back of the eye respond to light energy. Rods provide dim-light, black-and-white vision, and are the source of peripheral vision. Cones operate in bright light and provide color vision. Cones are most concentrated at the back center of each eye. Rods are more numerous than cones, and
surround the cones. Information from the rods and cones travels via the optic nerve into the brain for interpretation.
The ear has two specialized functions: Sound wave detection and interpretation of the head position in space. Sound waves enter the outer ear through the external auditory canal (ear canal) and strike the tympanic membrane (eardrum). Vibration of the eardrum moves three ossicles (small bones) inside the middle ear, which in turn stimulate the organ of Corti (hearing receptor in the inner ear). Impulses travel from the organ of Corti through the vestibulocochlear nerve to be interpreted by the brain.

The ear also contains equilibrium (sense of balance) receptors. The vestibular apparatus, a group of equilibrium receptors in the inner ear, sense movement in space. Maculae receptors in the vestibule monitor static equilibrium (head position with respect to gravity when the body is still). Cristae receptors in the semicircular canals monitor dynamic equilibrium (movement). Impulses from the vestibular apparatus travel along the vestibulocochlear nerve to appropriate brain areas. These centers start responses that fix the eyes on objects and stimulate muscles to maintain balance.

Mechanoreceptors respond to mechanical energy forces: Touch, pressure, stretching, and movement. Ranging in complexity from free nerve endings beneath the skin to more complex tactile receptors at the bases of hair, mechanoreceptors change shape when pushed or pulled.

Different types of skin receptors sense different environmental stimuli. Free nerve endings sense pain. Specialized receptors such as Merkel's discs and Meissner's corpuscles sense touch. Pacinian corpuscles sense deep pressure. Naked nerve endings are thought to be responsible for sensing temperature. Other types of sensory receptors provide the brain information on the body. Interoreceptors in body organs inform the CNS about internal conditions such as hunger and pain. Proprioceptors in joints, tendons, and muscles detect changes in position of skeletal muscles and bones.

This information allows humans to be aware the positions of their trunk and limbs without having to see them.

Source:  www.besthealth.com

by Diane Mccarthy 4 years ago