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Peripheral Nervous System

1. Peripheral Nervous System: consists of nerves and scattered groups of ganglia found
outside the CNS

Abbreviated: PNS

A. Structure of a Nerve

1. Nerve: a bundle of neuron fibers found outside the CNS.

2. Nerve Anatomy:

a. Endoneurium: delicate connective tissue sheath that surrounds a neuron fiber

b. Perineurium: coarser connective tissue that wraps groups of fibers

i. Fascicle: a bundle of neuron fibers wrapped by a perineurium

c. Epineurium: a tough fibrous sheath that binds fascicles together to form a nerve

3. Classification of Nerves:

a. Mixed Nerves: contain both sensory and motor fibers

Example: All spinal nerves

b. Sensory Nerves: contain only sensory fibers and carry signals to the CNS

AKA: Afferent Nerves

c. Motor Nerves: contain only motor fibers and carry signals away from the CNS

AKA: Efferent Nerves

B. Cranial Nerves

Cranial Nerves: 12 pairs of nerves that primarily serve the head and neck

a. Numbered in order

b. Their names generally reveal the most important structures they control

The Cranial Nerves

1. CN-1: Olfactory

a. Carries impulses for the sense of smell

2. CN-2: Optic

a. Carries impulses for the sense of vision

3. CN-3: Oculomotor

a. Supplies motor fibers for superior, inferior, and medial rectus muscles that direct the
eyeball (4 of 6 eye muscles)

b. Controls internal eye muscles controlling lens shape and pupil size

4. CN-4: Trochlear

a. Supplies motor fibers for superior oblique eye muscle

5. CN-5: Trigeminal

a. Conducts sensory impulses from skin of face

b. Contains motor fibers that activate chewing muscles

6. CN-6: Abducens

a. Supplies motor fibers to lateral rectus muscle of eye

--rolls eye laterally

7. CN-7: Facial

a. Activates muscles of facial expression

b. Activates salivary and lacrimal glands

c. Carries sensory impulses from taste buds of anterior tongue

8. CN-8: Vestibulocochlear (Acoustic)

a. Carries impulses from vestibular branch

--For sense of balance

b. Carries impulses from cochlear branch

--For sense of hearing

9. CN-9: Glossopharyngeal

a. Supplies motor fibers for pharynx

--For swallowing and saliva production

b. Carries impulses from taste buds of posterior tongue

c. Carries impulses from pressure receptors of the carotid artery

10. CN-10: Vagus

a. Carries impulses to and from the: pharynx, larynx, and abdominal and thoracic viscera

Note: Most motor fibers are parasympathetic (involuntary: digestion, heartbeat)

11. CN-11: Accessory

a. Mostly motor fibers that activate the sternocleidomastoid and trapezius muscles

12. CN-12: Hypoglossal

a. Motor fibers control tongue movements

b. Sensory fibers carry impulses from the tongue

Mnemonic for Cranial Nerves
Traditional: On Old Olympus Towering Tops, A Finn and German Viewed Some Hops

Note: CN-8, And refers to the old name of Acoustic
CN-11, Some refers to Spinal Accesory

More Modern: On Occasion Our Trusty Truck Acts Funny. Very Good Vehicle Any How

Mnemonic for Sensory, Motor, or Both
Some Say Money Matters, But My Brother Says Big Brains Matter More.

C. Spinal Nerves and Nerve Plexuses

1. Spinal nerves are named for the region of the cord from which they arise
a. There are 31 pairs

b. They form from the combination of the ventral and dorsal roots of the spinal cord

2. After forming, the spinal nerve divides almost immediately

a. Divides into dorsal and ventral rami

b. Makes the spinal nerve about inch long

c. All rami contain both motor and sensory neurons

3. The ventral rami of spinal nerves T
to T
form the intercostal nerves

a. Supply muscles between ribs of the anterior and lateral trunk

b. Plexuses: complex networks of nerves from the ventral rami of all other spinal nerves

D. Autonomic Nervous System

1. Autonomic Nervous System (ANS): the motor subdivision of the PNS that controls body
activities automatically

Also Called: Involuntary Nervous System

a. Composed of a special group of neurons that regulate cardiac muscle, smooth muscles,
and glands

2. Autonomic Nervous System motor pathways differ from Somatic Nervous System pathways:

a. Somatic Nervous System =cell bodies of neurons are in CNS and their axons extend
all the way to the skeletal muscles they serve

b. Autonomic Nervous System =composed of two motor neurons

i. First Motor Neuron is in the brain or spinal cord

--Preganglionic Axon: the axon of the first motor neuron that leaves the
CNS to synapse with the second motor neuron

ii. Second Motor Neuron

--Postganglionic Axon: the axon of the second motor neuron that extends
to the organ it serves

3. The autonomic nervous system has two divisions: sympathetic and parasympathetic

a. Sympathetic Division: mobilizes the body during extreme situations

Examples: fear, exercise, or rage

b. Parasympathetic Division: allows us to unwind and conserve energy

E. Parasympathetic Division

1. Their first neurons are located in cranial nerves III, VII, IX, and X and in S
to S

2. Neurons of cranial region: send axons out in cranial nerves to serve the head and neck organs

a. They synapse with the second motor neuron in a terminal ganglion

b. Next, the postganglionic axon extends a short distance to its organ

3. Neurons of S
to S
region: preganglionic axons form the pelvic splanchnic nerves

a. Pelvic Splanchnic Nerves: travel to the pelvic cavity

b. Preganglionic axons synapse with second motor neuron in the pelvic cavity

c. The terminal axon is on or close to the organs they serve

F. Sympathetic Division

1. Sympathetic Division is also called the thoracolumbar division

a. Its first neurons are in the gray matter of the spinal cord from T
to L

2. Preganglionic axons leave the cord in the ventral root

a. Then, enters the spinal nerve

b. Then, passes through a ramus communicans

i. Ramus Communicans: a small communicating branch

c. Then, enters a sympathetic chain ganglion

3. Sympathetic Chain: a bundle of nerve fibers that runs from the base of the skull to the coccyx

AKA: Sympathetic Trunk

a. It lies alongside the vertebral column on each side

4. Sympathetic Pathways: there are three ways the preganglionic axon can synapse with the
second neuron

a. Synapse at the same level

b. Synapse at a different level

i. The postganglionic axon then renters the spinal nerve to travel to the skin

c. Synapse in a Collateral Ganglion anterior to the vertebral column

i. The axon passed through the ganglion without synapsing and formed part of
the splanchnic nerves, which then synapse with the second neuron

ii. Major Collateral Ganglion include:

--Celiac, Superior and Inferior Mesenteric Ganglia

--Supply the abdominal and pelvic organs

iii. Postganglionic Axon then leaves collateral ganglion and travels to serve a
nearby visceral organ

G. Autonomic Functioning

1. Body organs served by the ANS receive fibers from both divisions

a. Exceptions: most blood vessels, most structures of the skin, some glands, and all of the
adrenal medulla

i. They all receive only Sympathetic Fibers

2. When both divisions supply an organ the have antagonistic effects

a. Cholinergic Fibers: parasympathetic postganglionic fibers

i. Release acetylcholine

b. Adrenergic Fibers: sympathetic postganglionic fibers

i. Release norepinephrine
c. Preganglionic fibers of both release acetylcholine

3. Sympathetic Division

a. Fight or Flight division

b. Increases heart rate, releases adrenaline, increases breathing, dilates pupils, etc

c. Effects of sympathetic activation last until hormones are broken down by the liver a
few minutes later

d. May be stimulated by emotions (like fear) or physical stress (like surgery or running)

4. Parasympathetic Division

a. Resting and Digesting division

b. Decreases the demands on the cardiovascular system, promotes digestion, etc


a. Parasympathetic Division is the Ds:

--Digestion, Defecation, Diuresis (urination)

b. Sympathetic Division is the Es:

--Exercise, Excitement, Emergency, Embarassment