noun, plural: afferent neurons
A type of neuron that detects stimulus from the periphery and relays nerve impulses towards the central nervous system
The nervous system of vertebrates is divided into peripheral nervous system and central nervous system. The peripheral nervous system is comprised of nerve cells or neurons outside the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system is comprised of two types of neurons which are classified according to the nerve impulse pathway. These are the efferent neurons and the afferent neurons. The efferent neurons carry impulses from the central nervous system to the periphery. In contrast, the afferent neurons send impulses from the periphery to the central nervous system. Sensory neurons are regarded as afferent neurons because relay sensory nerve impulses from the sense organs detecting stimuli to the spinal cord and then to the brain for interpretation. Most sensory neurons communicate with interneurons in the central nervous system for integration of the sensory input.
Word origin: Latin adferens (bringing to), adferre (to bring to), from ad (to, toward) + ferre (to carry, bear)
- afferent neurone