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Excitable Cells

Excitable cells are those that can be stimulated to create a tiny electric current.
Muscle cells and
nerve cells (neurons) are excitable.


Reflexes are rapid, predictable, involuntary motor responses to stimuli.

Autonomic reflexes

Reflexes that activate smooth and cardiac muscles and the glands. They regulate digestion, elimination, blood pressure, salivation, and sweating.

Somatic reflexes

Reflexes including the stimulation of the skeletal muscles.


The site of stimulus action.

sensory neuron

transmits the afferent impulses to the CNS.

integration center

consists of one or more synapses in the CNS.

motor neuron

conducts the efferent impulses from the integration center to an effector organ.

effector organ

muscle or glands responding to an impulse by contracting, relaxing or secreting, respectively.


Receptors that generate impulses when they are deformed by a mechanical change (touch, pressure, vibration, stretch and itch).


Receptors that are sensitive to temperature changes.


Receptors that are responsive to light.


Receptors that respond to chemicals in solution (smell, taste, or changes in blood chemistry).


Receptors that respond to pain. (all receptors can function as nociceptors)


Special nerve endings in the muscles and tendons and other organs that respond to stimuli regarding the position and movement of the body. Proprioceptors help us regulate balance. They are frequently stretch (mechanoreceptors) receptors because as we start to fall over muscles on one side of our body will get stretched so these muscles will respond by tightening up. We do this without even thinking about it.

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