With such similar-sounding words, it can be tough to remember the difference between afferent and efferent . That’s why it’s important to focus on the difference in what they do first. You can think of afferent and efferent neuron pathways as one-way streets. The traffic can only flow in one direction – afferent neurons only take information to the central nervous system, and efferent neurons only take it away from the central nervous system. Afferent and efferent neurons are part of your somatic nervous system, which is responsible for all the voluntary muscle movements in your body. When you kick a ball, scratch your head, or do push-ups at the gym, afferent and efferent neurons are evaluating stimuli and allowing you to respond. Interneurons, on the other hand, are part of the central nervous system. Our nervous system is divided into two parts. The central nervous system includes the brain and the spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system consists of a network of neurons, which spans the organs, the muscles, and the body. The neurons in both systems work together to help us think, survive and act on the world around us. Afferent is used to describe things like nerves, blood vessels, and arteries that lead toward or bring things to an organ, such as the heart or brain. Efferent means the opposite—it’s used to describe parts that carry or lead things away from organs or other parts. Think of the e in efferent as standing for the exit. Afferent and efferent neurons are two major types of neurons present in the nervous system. Afferent neurons bring nerve impulses generated by the sensory organs to the central nervous system. Receptors of the sensory organs receive external stimuli and generate nerve impulses and send them to the brain and spinal cord through the afferent neurons, which are sensory neurons. Therefore, they send signals in one direction. On the other hand, efferent neurons start from the central nervous system and carry nerve impulses from the central nervous system to the muscles and glands.
Afferent neurons are the neurons that carry sensory impulses toward the Central nervous system. It converts the external stimuli into an internal electrical impulse. Afferent neuron gathers information from sensory perceptions such as smell, taste, light, touch, and hearing. All the sensory signals are processed in the brain and the brain coordinates the relevant organ for a response. Afferent nerves are present in a variety of organs example Respiratory system, the Urinary system, and the cardiac afferent nerves are involved in cardiac muscle action as well.
Efferent Neurons are the neurons that carry information from the central nervous system to organs and muscles throughout the body. This neuron carries electric impulses that tell organs and muscles what to do. If you are moving your arm efferent neurons would carry the electrical impulse from your brain throughout to your arm and the spinal cord where muscles receive the information to move. There are three types of efferent neurons present i.e somatic efferent neurons, general visceral efferent neurons, and special visceral efferent neurons. There are two types of somatic efferent neurons alpha motor neurons and beta motor neurons.
Here, the list of differences between afferent vs Efferent in the tabular form below:
It is also known as Sensory neurons
It is also known as Motor neurons
Afferent neurons are the neurons that carry sensory impulses towards the CNS (central nervous system)
Efferent neurons are the neurons that carry motor impulses away from the CNS (central nervous system)
It carry signal from sensory organs to central nervous system
It carry signal from the central nervous system to effector organs and tissue
It consists for a short axon
It consists for a long axon
Consist of receptor
Lack of receptor
Cell body is situated in the dorsal root ganglion of the spinal cord and no dendrites are found in it
Cell body is situated in the ventral root ganglion of the spinal cord and consists of dendrites
It consists of one long Dendron
It consists of many small Dendrons
It carries the signal from the outer part of body into the central nervous system
It carries signal from central nervous system to outer parts of body
It is unipolar and found in the skin, eyes, ears, tongue, and nose
It is Multipolar and mainly found in muscles and glands
These are the basic key differences between Afferent vs Efferent nerves. If you understand Afferent vs Efferent nerves then provides you with a better understanding of the central nervous system.