Related topics: neurons

Exploring how neurons in human skin affect pigmentation

Your skin forms the physical boundary between you and the outside world, yet it still holds a surprising number of secrets. Now, researchers from Japan have discovered that sensory nerve cells in the skin do more than just ...

Researchers crack 30-year-old mystery of odor switching in worms

Soil-dwelling nematodes depend on their sophisticated sense of smell for survival, able to distinguish between more than a thousand different scents—but the molecular mechanism behind their olfaction has baffled scientists ...

Important genetic origin of our senses identified

Having a head is quite an advantage. Although this may sound banal, it had to be tested in a long evolutionary process: As animal life developed, invertebrates initially dominated the oceans. These had already developed head ...

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Sensory neuron

Sensory neurons are neurons that are activated by sensory input (vision, touch, hearing, etc.), and send projections into the central nervous system that convey sensory information to the brain or spinal cord. Unlike neurons of the central nervous system, whose inputs come from other neurons, sensory neurons are activated by physical modalities such as light, sound, temperature, chemical stimulation, etc.

In complex organisms, sensory neurons relay their information to the central nervous system or in less complex organisms, such as the hydra, directly to motor neurons and sensory neurons also transmit information (electrical impulses) to the brain, where it can be further processed and acted upon. For example, olfactory sensory neurons make synapses with neurons of the olfactory bulb, where the sense of olfaction (smell) is processed.

At the molecular level, sensory receptors located on the cell membrane of sensory neurons are responsible for the conversion of stimuli into electrical impulses. The type of receptor employed by a given sensory neuron determines the type of stimulus it will be sensitive to. For example, neurons containing mechanoreceptors are sensitive to tactile stimuli, while olfactory receptors make a cell sensitive to odors.

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