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Somatic sensory system

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Western University
Physiology 3120
Tom Stavraky

Human Physiology Wednesday, October 21, 2009 • All rapidly adapting receptors are associated with connective tissue Somatic Sensory System • 6 different touch receptors (therefore touch is a hugely important sensation/stimulus)  Some slowly adapting (free nerve ending, Merkel’s, Ruffini)  Can detect vibrations of stimuli (fast adapting receptors) very accurately • Free nerve endings part of the sensation of many modalities; different sensation mechanisms between modalities • Touch faster than pain  Touch receptors have axons that conduct signals at about 80m/s; pain receptors (at the fastest) have axons that conduct signals at about 20m/s  May reflect an increased need for tactile sensation in mammals compared with lower-order organisms • Pain: two types  Slow pain/ache: goes through the C pathway  Fast/sharp pain: goes through alpha-delta pathway • Clusters of axons in a nerve: classification by conduction velocity  Alpha conduct signals faster than beta axons; different diameters produce different conduction velocities; larger diameter = faster conduction; all of these fibres are “A” fibres  Unmyelinated fibres are “C” axons • Muscle afferents have a different classification • Proprioception  = knowledge of location & movement of limbs in space without vision • Receptive field  The area on the surface of the skin to which an afferent nerve is responsive & produces action po
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