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  • Comparison of the Somatic and Autonomic Nervous Systems

    1.Sensory input :
    a) SNS: Somatic senses and special senses.
    b) ANSMainly from interoceptors.

    2. Motor output :
    a) SNS: Voluntary control from cerebral cortex, basal ganglia, cerebellum, brain stem, and spinal cord.
    b) ANSInvoluntary control from hypothalamus, limbic system, brain stem, and spinal cord, limited control from cerebral cortex.

    3. Motor neuron pathway:
    a) SNS: One-neuron pathway, Somatic motor neurons extending from CNS synapse directly with effector.
    b) ANS: Usually two-neuron pathway: Preganglionic neurons extending from CNS synapse with postganglionic neurons in an autonomic ganglion, and postganglionic neurons extending from ganglion synapse with a visceral effector.

    4. Neurotransmitters : 
    a) SNS: All somatic motor neurons release ACh.
    b) ANS: All sympathetic and parasympathetic preganglionic neurons release acetylcholine (ACh). Most sympathetic postganglionic neurons release norepinephrine (NE); those to most sweat glands release ACh. All parasympathetic postganglionic neurons  release ACh.

    5. Effectors:
    a) SNS: Skeletal muscle.
    b) ANS: Smooth muscle, cardiac muscle, and glands.

     

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