Reflex arc - Definition

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Definition


A reflex arc is a type of neural pathway that culminates in the production of a reflex. Information about the environment surrounding the body is picked up by sensory receptors, which transcribe the information as a neural message sent to the central nervous system that in turn interprets the information and sends back a neural impulse to provoke a response. The many processes that use a reflex arc include deep tendon, or stretch reflexes, where an exterior stimula is interpreted as information by a sensory neuron, either afferent or centripetal, which transmits the information, at which point the response generated by a cell in the central nervous system is performed by a motor neuron, either efferent or centrifugal, which causes a muscle to contract. Similar processes exist for other functions, notably for hormonal processes, such as the stimulation of gland secretion of molecules in response to certain stimuli.

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