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This chapter should help the student to:

  • Name the sensory receptor classes and list the receptors in each.

  • Describe the structure, function, and location(s) of each receptor type.

  • Describe the process by which each receptor type transduces a stimulus into a neuronal potential.

  • Locate and identify the receptors in a micrograph of an organ or tissue.

  • Identify the components of receptors in a diagram or micrograph.

  • Relate the microscopic structure of each receptor to its “adequate stimulus.”


  1. In which receptor types are generator and receptor potentials formed (I.A.1.a–c1)?

  2. List the receptors that fall into the following categories (Table 24–1) and note the overlaps:

    1. Mechanoreceptors

    2. Chemoreceptors

    3. Thermoreceptors

    4. Photoreceptors

    5. Neuronal receptors (I.A.1.a)

    6. Epithelial receptor cells (I.A.1.b)

    7. Neuroepithelial receptors (I.A.1.c)

    8. Proprioceptors (III.A and B)

    9. Touch and pressure receptors

    10. Warmth receptors

    11. Pain receptors (nociceptors)

    12. Cutaneous (skin) receptors (II. A–G)

  3. List the types of sensations detected by free (unencapsulated) nerve endings (II.A).

  4. Compare Merkel, Meissner, Ruffini, and pacinian corpuscles (II.B, D, E, and F) in terms of:

    1. Nerve fiber number and arrangement

    2. Capsule presence and structure

    3. Adequate stimulus

    4. Location

  5. To what do the terms “intrafusal” and “extrafusal” refer (III.A.1)?

  6. Name the two types of intrafusal muscle fibers (III.A.1) and compare them in terms of diameter and length, distribution of nuclei, and type of sensory nerve ending.

  7. Compare muscle spindles with Golgi tendon organs in terms of function and the fibers (other than nerve) inside the capsule (III.A.1 and B).

  8. List the receptors found in joint capsules and describe their function (Table 24–1).

  9. Which sense organ in the head (other than the eye) contributes important information for proprioception (sense of equilibrium and position in space; VI.D; Table 24–1)?

  10. Name the three types of lingual papillae with taste buds and compare them in terms of taste bud distribution (IV.A).

  11. Name the five cell types in taste buds (Table 24–2) and compare their structure, function, and location.

  12. Where in the nasal cavity is the olfactory epithelium located (IV.B)?

  13. Name three cell types in olfactory epithelium (IV.B) and compare their shape, nuclear position, apical surface specializations (where applicable), and function.

  14. Compare taste buds (IV.A; Table 24–2) and olfactory epithelium (IV.B) in terms of:

    1. Basic function

    2. Receptor cell type (I.A.1.b and c)

    3. Receptor cell apical surface specializations

    4. Signal transmission (I.A.1.b and c)

  15. List, in order, the major steps in the embryonic development of the eye (V.A).

  16. Name the eye’s three compartments and describe their boundaries (V.C.3 and I; Fig. 24–2).

  17. Name, from outermost to innermost, the globe’s three basic tunics (or layers) (V.A–D); list the major components of each from anterior to posterior.

  18. List, from anterior to posterior, the cornea’s five layers and describe the composition of each (V.B.1). Which layer is thickest?

  19. Describe the sclera (V.B.3) in terms of its predominant tissue type, its vascularity, and the proportion of the eye it covers.

  20. Compare the sclera and cornea (V.B.1 and 3) ...

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