After completing this study unit you will be able to:
- Understand the differences between peripheral and other types of nerves.
- Recognize the structure of peripheral nerves.
- Be able to identify peripheral nerves in histological slides.
The nervous system is divided into the central nervous system (CNS) consisting of the brain and spinal cord and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The peripheral nervous system lies outside the skull and spinal canal and includes all neural tissue outside the CNS. Peripheral nerves carry impulses from the CNS to the organs and from the organs back to the CNS.
Peripheral nerves consist of axons and Schwann cells, which together form nerve fiber bundles and are surrounded by connective tissue. Each individual nerve fiber is surrounded by the endoneurium. The endoneurium, together with the basement membrane of the Schwann cell, forms the endoneural sheath. Entire bundles of nerve fibers are encompassed by the perineurium and several bundles together form the entire nerve, which in turn is surrounded by the epineurium.
Watch the following video to learn more about peripheral nerves and their histological appearance:
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Before we review the peripheral nerves and their histological appearance under the microscope, let us brush up our memory and look at the structure of peripheral nerves: