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Peripheral Parts of the Somatosensory System 

Peripheral Parts of the Somatosensory System
Chapter:
Peripheral Parts of the Somatosensory System
Author(s):

Per Brodal

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190228958.003.0013
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date: 26 February 2021

Chapter 13 deals with the peripheral parts of the somatosensory system. A distinction is made between exteroceptors, located in the skin, and proprioceptors, located in muscles and around the joints. High-threshold receptors that signal impending tissue damage (nociceptors) contribute to bodily homeostasis. Thermoreceptors respond to changes of the temperature of their surroundings. Cutaneous low-threshold mechanoreceptors are of crucial importance for discriminative sensation. The muscle spindles are the most elaborate among proprioceptors. They contribute to reflex control of movements and to kinesthesia. Tendon organs measure the force of muscle contraction. Dorsal root fibers conducting from somatosensory receptors are myelinated A fibers and unmyelinated C fibers. Primary sensory neurons release a classical neurotransmitter and many also contain neuropeptides. The ventral branches of the spinal nerves form plexuses supplying the arms and the legs. The area of the skin supplied with sensory fibers from one spinal segment is called a dermatome.

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