Chapter

Peripheral Nerve Anatomy And Function

Thomas M. Brushart

in Nerve Repair

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780195169904
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199965168 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780195169904.003.0001
Peripheral Nerve Anatomy And Function

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The axon is the functional unit of peripheral nerve. It is specialized for both electrical conduction and the bidirectional transport of material to and from the parent neuron. Peripheral axons differ widely in size according to their functional specialization. All peripheral axons are partnered with Schwann cells, the glia of the peripheral nervous system. A variety of specific molecular interactions have recently been found to mediate the axon/ Schwann cell relationship. Schwann cells myelinate larger axons in a 1:1 relationship, but can encompass more than one unmyelinated axon. Peripheral axons are ensheathed by a series of connective tissue layers to form peripheral nerve. The endoneurium surrounds axons, perineurium defines the fascicle and influences the endoneurial environment, and epineurium forms an outer protective coating. Axons are not randomly distributed within this structural framework, but are progressively organized to form specific tributary nerves as they course from the central nervous system to the periphery.

Chapter.  14145 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sensory and Motor Systems ; Rehabilitation Medicine

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