sensory neuron

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sen·so·ry neu·ron

a neuron conveying information originating from sensory receptors or nerve endings; an afferent neuron, may be a general or special sensory neuron.


(noo'ron?) [Gr. neuron, nerve, sinew]
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A nerve cell, the structural and functional unit of the nervous system. A neuron consists of a cell body (perikaryon) and its processes, an axon and one or more dendrites. Neurons function in the initiation and conduction of impulses. They transmit impulses to other neurons or cells by releasing neurotransmitters at synapses. Alternatively, a neuron may release neurohormones into the bloodstream. Synonym: nerve cell See: illustrationneuronal (noor''on-al), adjective

afferent neuron

A neuron that conducts sensory impulses toward the brain or spinal cord.
Synonym: sensory neuron

association neuron


associative neuron

A neuron that mediates impulses between a sensory and a motor neuron.

bipolar neuron

1. A neuron that bears two processes.
2. A neuron of the retina that receives impulses from the rods and cones and transmits them to a ganglion neuron. See: retina for illus.

central neuron

A neuron confined entirely to the central nervous system.

commissural neuron

A neuron whose axon crosses to the opposite side of the brain or spinal cord.

efferent neuron

A neuron whose axon carries motor impulses away from the brain or spinal cord.

gamma motor neuron

A small nerve originating in the anterior horns of the spinal cord that transmits impulses through type A gamma fibers to intrafusal fibers of the muscle spindle for muscle control.

ganglion neuron

A neuron of the retina that receives impulses from bipolar neurons. Axons of ganglion neurons converge at the optic disk to form the optic nerve.
See: retina for illus.

internuncial neuron


lower motor neuron

A peripheral motor neuron that originates in the ventral horns of the gray matter of the spinal cord and terminates in skeletal muscles. Lesions of these neurons produce flaccid paralysis of the muscles they innervate. Synonym: lower motoneuron

mirror neuron

Any of a group of neurons that become active both when an animal moves in a certain way and when the animal observes others performing the same action. Learning by simulation or imitation is thought to be a function of the system of mirror neurons in the brain.

motor neuron

A neuron that carries impulses from the central nervous system either to muscle tissue to stimulate contraction or to glandular tissue to stimulate secretion.

multipolar neuron

A neuron with one axon and many dendrites.

peripheral neuron

A neuron whose process constitutes a part of the peripheral nervous system (cranial, spinal, or autonomic nerves).

peripheral motor neuron

A motor neuron that transmits impulses to skeletal muscle. Synonym: peripheral motoneuron

postganglionic neuron

A neuron of the autonomic nervous system whose cell body lies in an autonomic ganglion and whose axon terminates in a visceral effector (smooth or cardiac muscle or glands).

preganglionic neuron

A neuron of the autonomic nervous system whose cell body lies in the central nervous system and whose axon terminates in a peripheral ganglion, synapsing with postganglionic neurons.

sensory neuron

Afferent neuron.

serotonergic neuron

A nerve cell that uses serotonin as its neurotransmitter.

unipolar neuron

A neuron whose cell body bears one process.

upper motor neuron

A motor neuron (actually an interneuron) found completely within the central nervous system that synapses with or regulates the actions of lower motor neurons in the spinal cord and cranial nerves. Lesions of these neurons produce spastic paralysis in the muscles they innervate. Synonym: upper motoneuron

sensory neuron


sensory cell

a neuron that conducts impulses from the periphery of an organ to the CNS.
References in periodicals archive ?
Long-term sensitization increases both the number and size of active zones in the sensory nerve cells.
Connector nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord link your sensory nerve cells to your motor nerve cells, allowing you to make decisions.
This receptor, which sits on the surface of some sensory nerve cells, first drew public attention when researchers learned that it responds to both high temperatures and capsaicin, the substance that makes certain peppers taste hot (SN: 11/8/97, p.
Equally important is that preliminary results suggest that injured spinal sensory nerve cells switch the type of sodium channels they produce, Thus, following injury, nerve cells from the spinal cord appear to produce different types of sodium channels, which remain open for different periods of time compared to normal sodium channels.
In support of that claim, he and colleagues will describe in the March Nature Neuroscience how the actions of multiple, unspecified ion channels allow sensory nerve cells to react to coldness.
The researchers found a perfect test bed for this idea: Some sensory nerve cells extend fibers, or axons, into both the peripheral and central nervous systems.
For the nose to work, its sensory nerve cells must send out long extensions, or axons, to connect with the brain region called the olfactory bulb.
Several years ago, scientists discovered a large family of genes, numbering as many as a thousand, all of which encode cell surface proteins made by the sensory nerve cells within the mammalian nose.
To identify receptors that recognize capsaicin's presence and therefore trigger the burning feeling, researchers isolated genes active in sensory nerve cells that connect to the spinal cord.
In addition, the researchers plan to link the silicon neurons to existing analog chips that mimic sensory nerve cells in the ear (SN: 1/6/90, p.
Earlier research with the hot pepper compound, capsaicin, suggested it might selectively stimulate, then block, a class of sensory nerve cells responsible for recognizing or transmitting pain.