Motor (sometimes called Efferent) neurons take information from the brain and send in out to the rest of the body.  If you want to draw on a piece of paper, you use motor (efferent) neurons to pick up a pencil and  move your fingers into the paper.

  • Cell body in CNS, axon in PNS
  • Transmit signals from CNS to effector tissues (muscle or gland)
  • Multipolar

Two basic types of motor neurons

  • Somatic motor neurons - control all of our voluntary muscle movements.  Everything from choosing to kick a ball to scratching an itch.  Every time you choose to move your body you are using motor neurons in the somatic nervous system.
    • Innervates skeletal muscle
    • Voluntary control
  • Autonomic motor neurons - control all of the automatic functions of our body.  Our heart rate, lungs, internal organs, etc…  
    • Innervates smooth muscle, cardiac muscle, or glands
    • Involuntary control
    • Divided into sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions

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