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Sensory System

Transmits sensory information collected by receptors to the CNS

Outline
1- General principles of sensory physiology 2- The somatosensory System 3- Olfaction 4- Taste 5- Hearing and Equilibrium 6- Vision

Outline
1- General principles of sensory physiology 2- The somatosensory System 3- Olfaction 4- Taste 5- Hearing and Equilibrium 6- Vision

1- General Principles of Sensory Physiology

Receptor physiology Sensory pathways Sensory coding

Sensory receptors
Somatic
-- Chemoreceptors (taste, smell, smell) -- Thermoreceptors (temperature) -- Photoreceptors (vision) -- Baroreceptors (sound, balance) -- Proprioreceptors (muscle stretch)

Visceral
-- Chemoreceptors (chemicals in blood, osmoreceptors) -- Baroreceptors (blood pressure)

Sensory transduction
Receptors transform an external signal into a membrane potential

Two types of receptor cells: - a nerve cell - a specialized epithelial cell

Two types of sensory receptors

Figure 10.2

Receptor adaptation
Tonic receptors
-- slow acting, -- no adaptation: continue to for impulses as long as the stimulus is there (ex: proprioreceptors)

Phasic receptors
-- quick acting, adapt: stop firing when stimuli are constant (ex: smell)

Sensory coding
A receptor must convey the type of information it is sending the kind of receptor activated determined the signal recognition by the brain It must convey the intensity of the stimulus the stronger the signals, the more frequent will be the APs It must send information about the location and receptive field, characteristic of the receptor

Sensory pathways
The sensory pathways convey the type and location of the sensory stimulus

The type: because of the type of receptor activated The location: because the brain has a map of the location of each receptor

Outline
1- General principles of sensory physiology 2- The somatosensory System 3- Olfaction 4- Taste 5- Hearing and Equilibrium 6- Vision

The Somatosensory System


Types of receptors
- Mechanoreceptors: -- Proprioreceptors in tendons, ligaments
and muscles body position -- Touch receptors in the skin: free nerve endings, Merkels disks and Meissners corpuscles (superficial touch), hair follicles, Pacinian corpuscles and Ruffinis ending

- Thermoreceptors: Warm receptors (30-45oC) and


cold receptors (20-35oC)

- Nociceptors: respond to noxious stimuli


Figure 10.6

Skin touch receptors

Figure 10.13

Figure 10.15

Pain perception
Fast pain: sharp and well localized, transmitted
by myelinated axons

Slow pain: dull aching sensation, not well


localized, transmitted by unmyelinated axons
Visceral pain: not as well localized as pain originating from the skin pain impulses travel on secondary axons dedicated to the somatic afferents referred pain

Referred pain

Figure 10.16a

Figure 10.16b

What is Phantom pain?

Outline
1- General principles of sensory physiology 2- The somatosensory System 3- Olfaction 4- Taste 5- Hearing and Equilibrium 6- Vision

Olfaction
Specialized neurons present in the olfactory epithelium in the nose. They project cilia into a mucus layer. The cilia are able to bind to odorant molecules the binding triggers an AP which is transmitted to the olfactory area of the olfactory bulb olfactory cortex (lower frontal area and limbic system of the brain Each olfactory receptor is specialized for 1 odorant molecule

Outline
1- General principles of sensory physiology 2- The somatosensory System 3- Olfaction 4- Taste 5- Hearing and Equilibrium 6- Vision

Taste
Receptors for taste are modified epithelial cell present in taste buds located on the tongue, roof of the mouth and pharynx

Four primary types of taste receptors : sour, salt, sweet and bitter (and a new one: umami) The binding of the receptor to a taste molecule triggers the entry of calcium in the cell release of neurotransmitter in a synapse with a neuron

Taste receptors

Neural pathway
Taste impulses travel through nerves VII, IX and X to a gustatory nucleus in the medulla oblongata (cross over) thalamus gustatory cortex located in the parietal lobe in the mouth area.

What is the flavor of food?

Outline
1- General principles of sensory physiology 2- The somatosensory System 3- Olfaction 4- Taste 5- Hearing and Equilibrium 6- Vision

Hearing - Equilibrium

Figure 10.37

Hearing
Sounds are waves of compressed air traveling through space - sound intensity wave height - pitch wave frequency

Organ of hearing (and equilibrium) inner ear


Cochlea

Vestibular apparatus

Hearing
1- The sound waves enter the external auditory canal and trigger vibrations of the tympanic membrane 2- The tympanic membrane induces a vibration of the ossicles 3- the last ossicle, the stapes, transmits amplified vibrations to the oval window 4- The vibrations induce waves in the perilymph of the various inner ear chambers 5- the round window absorbs excess energy and prevent wave reverberation 6- the fluid wave is transduced into an electrical signal by the auditory receptors, the organs of Corti located on the basilar membrane

Receptors for sound: the organ of Corti


The hair cells of the organ of Corti transduce fluid wave into an electrical signal The energy of the wave causes the basilar and vestibular membrane to move, thus displacing the cilia from the organ of Corti

Signal transduction
Movements of the cilia open or close potassium channels changes in the state of polarization of the hair cell Changes in potassium leakage due to cilia bending trigger changes in neurotransmitters exocytosis The neurotransmitters send an electrical signal to an afferent neuron of the cochlear nerve

The louder the sound, the more the cilia bend, the more numerous are the APs produced

Coding for pitch


The location of the organs of Corti on the basilar membrane codes for pitch

- Organs of Corti located near the oval window are more sensitive to high pitch sounds while the ones located toward the tip of the cochlea respond more readily to low pitch sound

Coding for sound intensity

Neural pathway for sounds


Cochlear nerve nucleus in medulla oblongata thalamus auditory cortex in the temporal lobe

So, how do we perceive the direction from which a sound is coming from?

Equilibrium
Ability to detect head position and movement (or acceleration) - Change of speed = linear acceleration (utricle and saccule) - Turning = rotational acceleration (semicircular canals)

Utricle and saccule


Sensory cells have cilia extending into a gelatinous material topped by otoliths

Saccule detects backward-frontward movement Utricle detects changes relative to gravity

Figure 10.46ac

Semi-circular canals
The receptors in the ampulla are hair cells with cilia extruding into a gelatinous mass (cupula)

When the head rotates, the cupula moves cilia pulled APs (vestibular nerve cerebellum )

So why does a person become dizzy after he/she stops spinning?

Outline
1- General principles of sensory physiology 2- The somatosensory System 3- Olfaction 4- Taste 5- Hearing and Equilibrium 6- Vision

Vision

The eye can only perceive a small portion of the spectrum of electromagnetic waves

Vision
In order to see an object: - 1- the pattern of the object must fall on the vision receptors (rods and cones in the retina) accommodation - 2- the amount of light entering the eye must be regulated (too much light will bleach out the signals) - 3- the energy from the waves of photons must be transduced into electrical signals - 4- The brain must receive and interpret the signals

Accommodation
It is the process of adjusting the shape of the lens so that the external image fall exactly on the retina

Accommodation
Object is far the lens flattens Object is near the lens rounds

Figure 10.25

Accommodation abnormalities
Myopia Hyperopia Astigmatism: the cornea is irregular irregular pattern of vision Presbyopia: stiffening of the lens occurring with aging increased difficulty with near vision

Figure 10.27ab

Figure 10.27c

Regulation of the amount of light entering the eye


The iris controls the amount of light entering the eye cavities The contraction of radial or circular smooth muscles located within the iris permit changes in the pupil diameter

Figure 10.28a

Eye abnormalities
Glaucoma Cataract

Figure 10.27b

Retinal structure
Three cell layers: -- outer layer: photoreceptors- rods and cones -- middle layer: bipolar neurons -- inner layer: ganglion cells

Phototransduction
Photons hit the pigment of a photoreceptor enzymes are activated in the cell which modify its state of polarization the signals are sent to visual area of the occipital lobe of the brain through the optic nerve

Figure 10.31

Figure 10.33b

Neural processing
The bipolar neurons and ganglion cells process the signal In the fovea where the acuity is the highest: 1 cone 1 bipolar cell 1 ganglion cell At the periphery: many rods 1 bipolar cell acuity is much decreased Other cells in the retina participate in signal processing

Neural pathway
The right visual field maps on the left visual cortex and vice versa

Figure 10.36

Neural pathway
What will happen if the left optic nerve is severed? What will happen if a person has a tumor in the pituitary gland (just below the optic chiasmata) and the inner fibers are destroyed? What will happen if a person suffers a brain tumor on the right side of the brain around the lateral geniculate body?

Depth of perception
The images from the 2 eyes are needed for depth of perception

Readings:
Chp. 10, p. 253-301

Not expected: - Pain gate-control theory, p. 268. - Phototransduction, p. 277-280