Efferent nerve fiber

Efferent nerve fiber
Afferent (PSF).png
Details
SystemPeripheral nervous system
Identifiers
Latinneurofibrae efferentes
A14.2.00.018
H2.00.06.1.00016
76571
Anatomical terms of neuroanatomy

Efferent nerve fibers refer to axonal projections that exit a particular region; as opposed to afferent projections that arrive at the region. These terms have a slightly different meaning in the context of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) and central nervous system (CNS). The efferent fiber is a long process projecting far from the neuron's body that carries nerve impulses away from the central nervous system toward the peripheral effector organs (mainly muscles and glands). A bundle of these fibers is called a motor nerve or an efferent nerve. The opposite direction of neural activity is afferent conduction,[1][2][3] which carries impulses by way of the afferent nerve fibers of sensory neurons.

In the nervous system there is a "closed loop" system of sensation, decision, and reactions. This process is carried out through the activity of sensory neurons, interneurons, and motor neurons.

In the CNS, afferent and efferent projections can be from the perspective of any given brain region. That is, each brain region has its own unique set of afferent and efferent projections. In the context of a given brain region, afferents are arriving fibers while efferents are exiting fibers.

Structure

Motor nerve

Myelinated GS efferent fiber leaving cell body of motor neuron to form a neuromuscular junction

The efferent nerve fibers of motor neurons are involved in muscle control, both skeletal and smooth muscle. The cell body of the motor neuron is connected to a single, long axon and several shorter dendrites projecting out of the cell body itself. This axon then forms a neuromuscular junction with the effectors. The cell body of the motor neuron is satellite-shaped. The motor neuron is present in the grey matter of the spinal cord and medulla oblongata, and forms an electrochemical pathway to the effector organ or muscle. Besides motor nerves, there are efferent sensory nerves that often serve to adjust the sensitivity of the signal relayed by the afferent sensory nerve.[citation needed]

Types

There are three types of efferent fibers: general somatic efferent fibers (GSE), general visceral efferent fibers (GVE) and special visceral efferent fibers (SVE).

Subtypes of general somatic efferent fibers include: alpha motor neurons (α) – these target extrafusal muscle fibers, and gamma motor neurons (γ) that target intrafusal muscle fibers. Beta motor neurons target both types of muscle fiber and there are two types known as static and dynamic.

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