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Medical Term:

motor neuron


a nerve cell in the spinal cord, rhombencephalon, or mesencephalon characterized by having an axon that leaves the central nervous system to establish a functional connection with an effector (muscle or glandular) tissue; somatic motor neuron directly synapse with striated muscle fibers by motor endplates; visceral motor neuron or autonomic motor neuron (preganglionic m. neurons), by contrast, innervate smooth muscle fibers or glands only by the intermediary of a second, peripheral, neuron (postganglionic m. neuron) located in an autonomic, or visceral motor, ganglion.

Synonym(s): anterior horn cell, motoneuron

See Also: motor endplate, autonomic (visceral motor) division of nervous system

© Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.