The human body is a very complex machine. Nerves, veins, organs, bones, flesh – it’s completely mind-boggling the way our bodies are so perfectly crafted by nature. Now, all humans have a central nervous system that carries all the nerves. The brain is a part of the central nervous system. The central nervous system works by receiving communication from the body’s sensory organs, processing this communication, and then by sending out appropriate instructions to the body.
The central nervous system contains millions of neurons. There are two major types of these neurons – one type helps bring in the stimuli from the sensory organs and the other type carries the instructions from the nervous system to the motor parts/muscles. Wouldn’t you love to know what these neurons are? Well, these are afferent and efferent neurons, and here is their difference:
- Afferent neurons carry the communication or information from the sensory organs and carry it to the central nervous system. The brain analyzes the information and sends instructions back to the body’s motor parts. These instructions are conveyed by efferent neurons. Their to-and-fro communication process helps us sense, decide and react. The communication happens in split-second timing. It’s like having a supercomputer inside our body.
- Both afferent and efferent neurons communicate with each other through another type of neuron – interneurons. Afferent neurons are connected to efferent neurons by interneurons. According to medical professionals, the human brain is host to 100 billion interneurons.
- Afferent neurons are called sensory neurons because they mainly convey impulses from the sensory organs. Efferent neurons are called motor neurons because they carry instructions to the muscles, and such instructions results in body movement.
- Afferent neurons’ cell bodies are perfectly rounded. Afferent neurons have one long dendrite and a short axon. The cell body of an efferent neuron is shaped like a satellite dish. These neurons have several dendrites at one end of the cell and one single axon at the other end of the cell.
- Afferent neurons are found in the dorsal root ganglion, just outside the spinal cord. Efferent neurons are located in the gray matter in the spinal cord and in the medulla oblongata.This is the difference between afferent and efferent neurons.