Afferent vs Efferent Neuron – Differences between Afferent and Efferent Neuron

  • Efferent and afferent neurons refer to various types of neurons that form the motor and sensory parts of the peripheral nerve system, and vice versa.
  • Neurons are excitable electrically which function as the functional and structural part of the nervous system.
  • A neuron’s typical structure is comprised of a cell body which is made up of all of organelles of the cell, as well as nerve fibers that extend beyond the cell and contain dendrites, as well as an axon.
  • Dendrites are small, branching extensions that take in signals from neurons in other areas, while the axon transmits signals from the cell body to the synapse, where neurons communicate with several other neurons.
  • Multiple axons that work in parallel are referred to as nerve.
  • Neurons are classified as efferent or afferent dependent on the direction that information is transported through the nervous system.
  • Afferent neurons transmit information from sensory receptors in the skin and various organs into the central nerve system (i.e. brain, brain, and the spinal cord) and efferent neurons transfer motor information away of the central nervous system and to glands and muscles in the body.
  • The efferent and afferent nerve fibers collaborate to detect and respond to different stimuli, however they are not directly connected.
  • In contrast, a third kind of neuron – called the interneuron, or association neuron–functions as an intermediary between these two, allowing them to communicate with one another.

What is Afferent Neuron?

  • The neurons that transmit sensory impulses to the CNS are known as Afferent neuron.
  • The afferent neuron convert external stimuli into an internal electrical impulses.
  • The nerve impulse is carried through the nerve fibers of the afferent up to CNS.
  • Cell body for the afferent neural lies in the dorsal Ganglia of the spinal cord.
  • Afferent neuron cells gather information from sensory perceptions , such as light, smell the sensation of touch, taste and hearing from the eyes, nose mouth, tongue and ear.
  • The light-sensitive signals are received from cone and rod cells within the retina. these nerve impulses are sent to the brain via the Afferent neurons in the eye.
  • Afferent neurons within the nasal area are stimulated various scents, and nerve signals are transmitted to the brain.
  • The taste buds of the tongue collect sensory information on various tastes. The nerve impulses that are sent to the brain via the afferent nerves in the tongue.
  • Mechanical stimuli like pressure, touch, stretch and temperature are detected by the skin. Afterwards, those signals from nerves get relayed to the brain via Afferent neurons.
  • The afferent nerves of the ear get stimulated by various frequencies within the range of the sensible to every animal. The nerve impulses are transmitted to the brain.
  • All sensor signals are processed by the brain. The brain coordinates the organs to produce a certain response.
Afferent vs Efferent Neuron - Differences between Afferent and Efferent Neuron
Afferent vs Efferent Neuron – Differences between Afferent and Efferent Neuron

What is Efferent Neuron?

  • The neurons that transmit motor electrical impulses that are away from CNS are known as efferent neuron.
  • The efferent neurons transmit data from CNS to the organs that affect which facilitates muscle contraction and the secretion of glandular substances.
  • Cells of an efferent nerve is linked to a single axon. It creates neuromuscular junctions that connect to the organs that are the effectors.
  • Two kinds of motor neurons can be found in the upper motor neurons as well as lower motor neurons.
  • There are three kinds of efferent neuron that are known as somatic efferent cells and general visceral efferent cells and special visceral neurons.
  • The two kinds of somatic efferent cells are alpha motor neurons as well as beta motor neurons.
  • The role of afferent sensory, efferent, as well as motor neuronal activity in external reflexes of the digitorium.

Similarities Between Afferent and Efferent

  • Efferent and afferent neurons are part of the to the peripheral nerve system.
  • Both neuronal networks aid the brain with the coordination of sensory stimuli and their responses.
  • Both neurons are made up of cells Dendrons, dendrons and dendrites.

Difference Between Afferent and Efferent – afferent vs efferent

S.NoAfferent NeuronEfferent Neuron
1.Afferent Neuron is a types of neurons that carry sensory impulses towards the central nervous system (CNS).Efferent Neuron is a types of neurons that carry motor impulses towards the central nervous system (CNS).
2. Afferent Neuron contain Long dendronEfferent Neuron contain short and numerous dendrons.
3. In Afferent Neuron, The shape of the cell body is smooth and round.In Efferent Neuron, The shape of the cell body is like a satellite.
4. Afferent neurons are located outside the CNS.Efferent neurons are located inside the CNS.
5. Afferent nerves transfer the messages or signals from various organs to the spinal cord or brain.Efferent nerves transfer the messages or signals from the spinal cord or brain to various organs.
6. Afferent nerves present in Ears, tongue, skin and nose.Efferent nerves are present in Glands and muscles.
7. It also known as the sensory neuron.Known as motor neuron
8.It is unipolarIt is multipolar
9.Contain long short axonContain long axons
10.Receptor is present Receptor is absent
11.Transfers signals from outer part of the body to CNSTransfer signals from CNS to outer part of the body
Difference Between Afferent and Efferent
Difference Between Afferent and Efferent

Key Differences Between Afferent and Efferent Neurons

These are the key aspects to understand the distinctions between the afferent and efferent neurons:

  1. The neurons that send sensorimotor impulses towards the central nerve system (CNS) are referred to as afferent nerves. Contrary to this, those neurons that transmit motor-related impulses toward the central nerve system (CNS) are known as efferent neuron. In simple terms, we could describe afferent neurons as working in a way that they send signals emitted by our organs of sense to the spinal cord or brain. efferent neurons transmit signals from the brain or spinal cord to glands, organs or limbs, indicating the kind of action should be taken by the senses.
  2. Afferent neuron have a long dendrons and axon that is short receptors, whereas efferent neurons have long Axon as well as numerous and small dendrons.
  3. The shape of the cell body of afferent neuron is round and smooth; in contrast the form of the cell body of efferent neurons is similar to the satellite.
  4. The afferent neuron is located in the outside of the CNS however, efferent neurons are located within the CNS.
  5. The principal function of Afferent nerves is to transfer signals or messages from different organs and tissues to the brain or spinal cord while efferent nerves transmit the signals or messages from the brain or spinal cord to various organs and organs of the body to decide what to do.
  6. Afferent cells are found in the tongue, ears and skin, while efferent nerves are found in the muscles and glands.

What are afferent neurons responsible for?

Afferent neurons, also known as sensor neurons are nerve fibers that carry sensory information from outside the world to the brain. Sensory information could involve particular sensitivities, such as hearing, vision and smell and the sensation of touch, temperature, or pain. Afferent neuron are generally linked to sensory receptors which are classified based on the stimuli they react to.


When a stimulus that comes from outside is detected via the sensorimotor receptors (e.g. touching a hot pot) the sensory afferents transmit information about the stimuli up in the spinal cord and to the brain. There, the association neurons decide on what to do. Then, these associations neurons will communicate with motor efferent neuron, transmitting information down the spinal cord to the muscles, signalling the appropriate motion to take (e.g. taking a step away from the heat source).

What are efferent neurons responsible for?

Efferent neurons, also known as motor neurons are nerve fibers that carry signalling from brain cells to peripheral nerve system to prompt an action. They are the brain cells that signal your body to execute actions, like taking your hand off the heat of a pan. This system of nerves is split into the somatic division comprised of neurons that regulate the voluntary movement of muscles in skeletal muscle and the autonomic division, which regulates non-voluntary body reactions, like blood pressure, heart rate and respiration, digestion and sexual awakening.


What are the structural differences between afferent and efferent neurons?

Afferent neuron have a distinctive design that differs from other neurons. The cell bodies of these neurons are situated in the outside the spinal cord, in the dorsal root of ganglion. In contrast to other neurons cells, their cell body is equipped with one axon which splits in two branches. One is connected to the sensor organ, and another branch that is responsible for transferring data from sensory systems to spinal cord through dorsal roots.

On the other hand Efferent neurons have their cells in the ventral horns of the spinal cord. Then, the efferent axons depart the spinal cord via the root ventral, move along the spinal nerves and finally synapse to muscles found at the nervemuscular junction.


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