Sensory nerve

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Sensory nerve
Latin nervus sensorius
TA A14.2.00.022
FMA 5868
Anatomical terms of neuroanatomy

A sensory nerve, also called an afferent nerve, is a nerve that carries sensory information toward the central nervous system (CNS). It is a cable-like bundle of the afferent nerve fibers coming from sensory neurons in the peripheral nervous system (PNS).

Afferent nerve fibers link the sensory neurons throughout the body, in pathways to the relevant processing circuits in the central nervous system.[1]

Afferent nerve fibers are often paired with efferent nerve fibers from the motor neurons, in mixed nerves, that travel from the central nervous system to the peripheral nervous system. Stimuli cause nerve impulses in the receptors and alter the potentials, which is known as sensory transduction.[2]

Spinal cord entry[edit]

Sensory information carried by the afferent axons of the spinal nerves enters the spinal cord via the dorsal roots, and motor commands carried by the efferent axons leave the cord via the ventral roots. Once the dorsal and ventral roots join, sensory and motor axons (with some exceptions) travel together in the segmental spinal nerves).[1]

Nerve damage[edit]

Damage to the sensory nerve causes a wide range of symptoms because of the amount of functions performed by the nerve. Traumatic injuries and other damages to the sensory nerves can lead to peripheral neuropathy, which in turn can lead to things such as chronic liver disease, kidney disease, cancer, vitamin B deficiency, etc.

The ability to feel pain or changes in temperature can be affected by damage to the fibers in the sensory nerve. This can cause a failure to notice injuries such as a cut or that a wound is becoming infected. There may also be a lack of detection of heart attacks or other serious conditions. The lack of detection of pain and other sensations is a particularly large problem for those with diabetes, which contributes to the rate of lower limb amputations among this population. Overall, the poor sensation and detection may lead to changes in skin, hair, joint, and bone damage over the years for many people.


  1. ^ a b Purves, Dale; Augustine, George J.; Fitzpatrick, David; Hall, William C.; LaMantia, Anthony-Samuel; White, Leonard E., eds. (2012). Neuroscience (5th ed.). Sunderland, Massachusetts U.S.A.: Sinauer Associates, Inc. ISBN 978-0-87893-695-3. 
  2. ^ Carlson, Neil R. (2014). Physiology of Behaviour (11th ed.). Essex, England: Pearson Edication Limited. ISBN 9780205239399. 

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