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Chapter: Modern Pharmacology with Clinical Applications: General Organization and Functions of the Nervous System

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Anatomic Differences Between the Somatic and Autonomic Nervous Systems

Anatomic Differences Between the Somatic and Autonomic Nervous Systems
Anatomical differences between the peripheral somatic and autonomic nervous systems have led to their classi-fication as separate divisions of the nervous system.

ANATOMIC DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE SOMATIC AND AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEMS

Anatomical differences between the peripheral somatic and autonomic nervous systems have led to their classi-fication as separate divisions of the nervous system. These differences are shown in Figure 9.1. The axon of a somatic motor neuron leaves the CNS and travels without interruption to the innervated effector cell. In contrast, two neurons are required to connect the CNS and a visceral effector cell of the autonomic nervous system. The first neuron in this sequence is called the preganglionic neuron. The second neuron, whose cell body is within the ganglion, travels to the visceral effec-tor cell; it is called the postganglionic neuron.


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