Nerve cell that carries messages away from the central nervous system toward the muscles and glands; also called an afferent neuron.

Quite Simply...

  • A type of neuron that carries nerve impulses that activate a muscle or gland
  • Motor neurons carry signals from the central nervous system to the outer parts (muscles, skin, glands) of your body.
  • The signals that are sent out to the parts of the body in response to a sensory action.
  • Motor neurons represent the direct connection between the nervous system and muscles.

Examples of Motor Neurons:

  • In the shower, the motor neurons deliver the message from the brain that tells your hand just how much to move the shower control knob.
  • Motor neurons may carry impulses to the muscles in your hand to stimulate the movement of muscles to pull your hand away from the sharp knife.
  • In an effort to maintain homeostasis when your body temperature is rising, the motor neurons may stimulate the sweat glands to produce sweat in an attempt to release some heat to the outside, thereby decreasing your internal temperature.
  • When you walk to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, muscles in your legs contract and relax in rhythmic sequence to move you forward using your motor neurons.
  • A cat biting your toe: your sensory neurons realize that the cat bit your toe. As a reaction the motor neurons go to the problem and try to fix it.

Additional Resources

Motor Neurons