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Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)

What is the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)? The peripheral nervous system (PNS) encompasses the parts of the nervous system outside the brain and spinal cord connecting them to the tissues of the rest of the body.

The PNS can be divided into the somatic and autonomic systems, which control voluntary and involuntary processes, respectively. The somatic nervous system comprises the roots, branches, and neuromuscular junctions of the cranial nerves, cervical plexus, brachial plexus, and lumbosacral plexus that carry motor and sensory information. The autonomic nervous system can be further subdivided into the sympathetic, parasympathetic, and enteric nervous systems.

What are the main functions of the PNS?

  • Relay of motor commands to all voluntary muscles.
  • Conveyance of sensory information from the environment to the brain and spinal cord.
  • Regulation of the autonomic functions, such as heart rate, breathing, pupillary response, and digestion.

Source: The Peripheral Nervous System | SEER Training. (n.d.). NIH National Cancer Institute. Retrieved May 30, 2022, from https://training.seer.cancer.gov/anatomy/nervous/organization/pns.html#:%7E:text=The%20somatic%20nervous%20system%20consists,It%20mediates%20unconscious%20activities.