Peripheral nervous system: Wikis

  
  

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Brain: Peripheral nervous system
Nervous system diagram.png
The Human Nervous System. Blue is PNS while red is CNS.
Latin Pars peripherica; Systema nervosum periphericum

The Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) resides or extends outside the central nervous system (CNS), which consists of the brain and spinal cord.[1] The main function of the PNS is to connect the CNS to the limbs and organs. Unlike the central nervous system, the PNS is not protected by bone or by the blood-brain barrier, leaving it exposed to toxins and mechanical injuries. The peripheral nervous system is divided into the somatic nervous system and the autonomic nervous system; some textbooks also include sensory systems.[2]

Contents

General classification

By direction

There are two types of neurons, carrying nerve impulses in different directions. These two groups of neurons are:

By function

The peripheral nervous system is functionally as well as structurally divided into the somatic nervous system and autonomic nervous system. The somatic nervous system is responsible for coordinating the body movements, and also for receiving external stimuli. It is the system that regulates activities that are under conscious control. The autonomic nervous system is then split into the sympathetic division, parasympathetic division, and enteric division. The sympathetic nervous system responds to impending danger, and is responsible for the increase of one's heartbeat and blood pressure, among other physiological changes, along with the sense of excitement one feels due to the increase of adrenaline in the system. The parasympathetic nervous system, on the other hand, is evident when a person is resting and feels relaxed, and is responsible for such things as the constriction of the pupil, the slowing of the heart, the dilation of the blood vessels, and the stimulation of the digestive and genitourinary systems. The role of the enteric nervous system is to manage every aspect of digestion, from the esophagus to the stomach, small intestine and colon.

Naming of specific nerves

Ten out of the twelve cranial nerves originate from the brainstem, and mainly control the functions of the anatomic structures of the head with some exceptions. The nuclei of cranial nerves I and II lie in the forebrain and thalamus, respectively, and are thus not considered to be true cranial nerves. CN X (10) receives visceral sensory information from the thorax and abdomen, and CN XI (11) is responsible for innervating the sternocleidomastoid and trapezius muscles, neither of which is exclusively in the head.

Spinal nerves take their origins from the spinal cord. They control the functions of the rest of the body. In humans, there are 31 pairs of spinal nerves: 8 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral and 1 coccygeal. In the cervical region, the spinal nerve roots come out above the corresponding vertebrae (i.e. nerve root between the skull and 1st cervical vertebrae is called spinal nerve C1). From the thoracic region to the coccygeal region, the spinal nerve roots come out below the corresponding vertebrae. It is important to note that this method creates a problem when naming the spinal nerve root between C7 and T1 (so it is called spinal nerve root C8). In the lumbar and sacral region, the spinal nerve roots travel within the dural sac and they travel below the level of L2 as the cauda equina.

Cervical spinal nerves (C1-C4)

The first 4 cervical spinal nerves, C1 through C4, split and recombine to produce a variety of nerves that subserve the neck and back of head.

Spinal nerve C1 is called the suboccipital nerve which provides motor innervation to muscles at the base of the skull. C2 and C3 form many of the nerves of the neck, providing both sensory and motor control. These include the greater occipital nerve which provides sensation to the back of the head, the lesser occipital nerve which provides sensation to the area behind the ears, the greater auricular nerve and the lesser auricular nerve. See occipital neuralgia. The phrenic nerve arises from nerve roots C3, C4 and C5. It innervates the diaphragm, enabling breathing. If the spinal cord is transected above C3, then spontaneous breathing is not possible. See myelopathy

Brachial plexus (C5-T1)

The last four cervical spinal nerves, C5 through C8, and the first thoracic spinal nerve, T1,combine to form the brachial plexus, or plexus brachialis, a tangled array of nerves, splitting, combining and recombining, to form the nerves that subserve the arm and upper back. Although the brachial plexus may appear tangled, it is highly organized and predictable, with little variation between people. See brachial plexus injuries.

Before forming three cords

The first nerve off the brachial plexus, or plexus brachialis, is the dorsal scapular nerve, arising from C5 nerve root, and innervating the rhomboids and the levator scapulae muscles. The long thoracic nerve arises from C5, C6 and C7 to innervate the serratus anterior. The brachial plexus first forms three trunks, the superior trunk, composed of the C5 and C6 nerve roots, the middle trunk, made of the C7 nerve root, and the inferior trunk, made of the C8 and T1 nerve roots. The suprascapular nerve is an early branch of the superior trunk. It innervates the supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles, part of the rotator cuff. The trunks reshuffle as they traverse towards the arm into cords. There are three of them. The lateral cord is made up of fibers from the superior and middle trunk. The posterior cord is made up of fibers from all three trunks. The medial cord is composed of fibers solely from the inferior trunk.

Lateral cord

The lateral cord gives rise to the following nerves:

Posterior cord

The posterior cord gives rise to the following nerves:

Medial cord

The medial cord gives rise to the following nerves:

Neurotransmitters

The main neurotransmitters of the peripheral nervous system are acetylcholine and noradrenaline. However, there are several other neurotransmitters as well, jointly labeled Non-noradrenergic, non-cholinergic (NANC) transmitters. Examples of such transmitters include non-peptides: ATP, GABA, dopamine, NO, and peptides: neuropeptide Y, VIP, GnRH, Substance P and CGRP. [3]

References

  1. ^ peripheral nervous system at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  2. ^ Maton, Anthea; Jean Hopkins, Charles William McLaughlin, Susan Johnson, Maryanna Quon Warner, David LaHart, Jill D. Wright (1993). Human Biology and Health. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, USA: Prentice Hall. pp. 132–144. ISBN 0-13-981176-1. 
  3. ^ Pharmacology, (Rang, Dale, Ritter & Moore, ISBN 0443071454, 5:th ed., Churchill Livingstone 2003). Page 132.

Simple English

The Peripheral nervous system, or PNS, is part of the nervous system, and consists of the nerves and neurons that are outside the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and serve the limbs and organs, for example.

The PNS is not protected by bone like the central nervous system. Therefore it is exposed to toxins and mechanical injuries. The peripheral nervous system is divided into the somatic nervous system (SNS) and the autonomic nervous system (ANS). But the enteric nervous system (ENS) can be seen as a third branch of its own and not as part of the autonomic nervous system.

  • The SNS coordinates your body's movement, receiving external stimuli, and regulates everything under conscious control.
  • The ANS controls all automatic actions. That means that it controls all reflexes and actions during sleep.
  • The ENS controls the gastrointestinal system.
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