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Chapter 16

The Special Senses

The Special Senses

 Chemical senses
 Taste (gustation)  Smell (olfaction)

 Vision  The ear

 Hearing  Equilibrium

re: Touch

The sense of touch is part of the General somatic senses____

This chapter deals with the Special category of the two left sensory boxes

 Taste buds: mostly on tongue  Two types
 Fungiform papillae (small, on entire surface of tongue)  Circumvallate papillae (inverted V near back of tongue)

 Taste buds of 50-100 epithelial cells each  Taste receptor cells (gustatory cells)  Microvilli through pore, bathed in saliva  Disolved molecules bind & induce receptor cells to generate impulses in sensory nerve fibers

 Types of taste
     Sweet Sour Salty Bitter Glutamate (MSG)

 Gustatory (taste) pathway to brainstem & cerebral cortex via two cranial nerves:
 VII (Facial n.) anterior 2/3 of tongue  IX (Glossopharyngeal n.) posterior 1/3 tongue and pharynx

Olfactory epithelium in roof of nasal cavity


 Pseudostratified columnar epithelium  Has millions of bipolar neurons = olfactory receptor cells
Only neurons undergoing replacement throughout adult life

Olfactory cilia bind odor molecules

 Mucus captures & dissolves odor molecules

Each receptor cell has an axon - are bundled into filaments of olfactory nerve
 Penetrate cribriform plate of ethmoid bone & enter olfactory bulb

 Olfactory bulb is in forebrain  In bulb nerve axons branch and synapse with mitral cells (neurons in clusters of glomeruli)  Mitral cells send signals via olfactory tract
Olfactory bulb__

___Filaments of Olfactory nerve (CN I)

_______Olfactory tract

 1000 types of smell receptors (approx.)  Convergence of many receptor cell signals onto one glomerulus registers a signature pattern  Brain recognizes the pattern: sent to unclus (olfactory center) and limbic area
Anosmia: absence of the sense of smell
    Trauma Colds or allergies producing excessive mucus Polyps causing blockage 1/3 are from zinc deficiency


The Eye and Vision

 Vision is the dominant sense in humans  70% of sensory receptors in humans are in the eyes  40% of the cerebral cortex is involved in processing visual information  The eye (or eyeball) is the visual organ
    Diameter 2.5 cm (1 inch) Only anterior 1/6 visible Lies in bony orbit Surrounded by a protective cushion of fat

Accessory structures of the eye

 Eyebrows  Eyelids or palpebrae
 Upper & lower separated by palpebral fissure  Corners: medial & lateral canthi  Eyelashes


 Eyelid tarsal plates give structure

 Where orbicularis oculi muscles attach (close eyes)

 Levator palpebrae superioris muscle

 Lifts upper lid voluntarily (inserts on tarsal plate)


 Tarsal glands modified sebaceous (oil) glands in tarsal plates  Conjunctiva transparent mucus membrane of stratified columnar epithelium
 Palpebral conjunctiva  Bulbar conjunctiva
 Covers white of eye but not the cornea (transparent tissue over the iris and pupil)


Lacrimal apparatus
 Responsible for tears
 The fluid has mucus, antibodies and lysozyme

 Lacrimal gland in orbit superolateral to eye  Tears pass out through puncta into canaliculi into sac into nasolacrimal duct  Empty into nasal cavity (sniffles)

Extraocular (extrinsic) eye muscles: 6 in #

EOMs intact means they all work right

 Four are rectus muscles (straight)

 Originate from common tendinous or anular ring, at posterior point of orbit

 Two are oblique: superior and inferior


Extraocular (extrinsic) eye muscles

Cranial nerve innervations:
 Lateral rectus: VI (Abducens n.) abducts eye outward  Medial, superior, inferior rectus & inf oblique: III (Oculomotor n.) able to look up and in if all work  Superior oblique: IV (Trochlear n.) moves eye down and out




 Double vision: diplopia (what the patient experiences)

 Eyes do not look at the same point in the visual field

 Misalignment: strabismus (what is observed when shine a light: not reflected in the same place on both eyes) can be a cause of diplopia
    Cross eyed Gaze & movements not conjugate (together) Medial or lateral, fixed or not Many causes
 Weakness or paralysis of extrinsic muscle of eye
Surgical correction necessary

 Oculomotor nerve problem, other problems

 Lazy eye: amblyopia

 Cover/uncover test at 5 yo  If dont patch good eye by 6, brain ignores lazy eye and visual pathway degenerates: eye functionally blind
NOTE: some neurological development and connections have a window of time - need stimuli to develop, or ability lost


3 Layers form the external wall of the eye


(outer) Fibrous: dense connective tissue

Sclera white of the eye Cornea
     100s of sheets of collagen fibers between sheets of epithelium and endothelium Clear because regular alignment Role in light bending Avascular but does have pain receptors Regenerates


(middle) Vascular: uvea

Choroid posterior, pigmented Ciliary body Iris (colored part: see next slide)


(inner) Sensory
Retina and optic nerve


(outer layer) Fibrous: dense connective tissue

Sclera white of the eye Cornea


(middle) Vascular: uvea

Choroid posterior, pigmented Ciliary body
   Muscles control lens shape Processes secrete aqueous humor Zonule (attaches lens)



(inner layer) Sensory

Retina and optic nerve

Layers of external wall of eye continued


(outer) Fibrous: dense connective tissue

Sclera white of the eye Cornea


(middle) Vascular: uvea

Choroid posterior, pigmented Ciliary body

Pigmented put incomplete: pupil lets in light Sphincter of pupil: circularly arranged smooth muscle parasympathetic control for bright light and/or close vision Dilator of pupil: radiating smooth muscle sympathetic control for dim light and/or distance vision (inner) Sensory 22


Layers of external wall of eye continued 1. (outer) Fibrous: dense connective tissue
      Sclera white of the eye Cornea Choroid posterior, pigmented Ciliary body Iris Retina -------will cover after the chambers and lens 23

2. (middle) Vascular: uvea

3. (inner) Sensory

some pictures


Chambers and fluids

(see previous pics)

 Vitreous humor in posterior segment

 Jellylike  Forms in embryo and lasts life-time

 Anterior segment filled with aqueous humor liquid, replaced continuously

 Anterior chamber between cornea and iris  Posterior chamber between iris and lens  Glaucoma when problem with drainage resulting in increased intraocular pressure

Lens: thick, transparent biconvex disc

 Changes shape for precise focusing of light on retina  Onion-like avascular fibers, increase through life  Cataract if becomes clouded
Note lens below, but in life it is clear Cataract below: the lens is milky and opaque, not the cornea


Cataract (opaque lens)


The eye is an optical device: predominantly the lens

(to a lesser degree, not shown here, the cornea also)

Note: images are upside down and reversed from left to right, like a camera

a. b. c.

Resting eye set for distance vision: parallel light focused on retina Resting eye doesnt see near objects because divergent rays are focused behind retina Lens accommodates (becomes rounder) so as to bend divergent rays 28 more sharply, thereby allowing convergence on the retina

Retina: develops as part of the brain

Remember the 3 layers of the external eye?

1. (outer layer) Fibrous: dense connective tissue Sclera white of the eye Cornea 2. (middle layer) Vascular: uvea Choroid posterior, pigmented Ciliary body Iris 3. (inner layer) Sensory Retina and optic nerve

Retina is 2 layers  Outer thin pigmented layer:

 Melanocytes (prevent light scattering)

 Inner thicker neural layer

 Plays a direct role in vision  Three type of neurons: 1. Photoreceptors
2. Bipolor cells 3. Ganglion cells

Light passes through pupil in iris, through vitreous humor, through axons, ganglion cells and bipolar cells, to photoreceptors next to pigmented layer

Photoreceptor neurons signal bipolar cells, which signal ganglion cells to generate (or not) action potentials: axons run on internal surface to optic nerve which runs to brain
*Know that axons from the retina form the optic nerve, CN II

Photoreceptors: 2 types

 Rod cells
 More sensitive to light - vision permitted in dim light but only gray and fuzzy  Only black and white and not sharp

 Cone cells
 High acuity in bright light  Color vision  3 sub-types: blue, red and green light cones
*Know that rods are for B & W and cones are for color

One of the Ishihara charts for color blindness

Commonly X-linked recessive: 8% males and 0.4% females



If you want more detail, its fascinating


Retina through ophthalmoscope

 Macula: at posterior pole  Fovea: maximal visual acuity (most concentrated cones)  Optic disc: optic nerve exits  Vessels

Green is area seen by both eyes, and is the area of stereoscopic vision

Visual pathways
At optic chiasm, medial fibers from each eye (which view lateral fields of vision) cross to opposite side. Optic tracts (of crossed and uncrossed, sensing opposite side of visual field of both eyes) synapse with neurons in lateral geniculate of thalamus. These axons form the optic radiation and terminate in the primary visual cortex in the occipital lobe. Left half of visual field perceived by right cerebral cortex, and vice versa.


Visual field defects

print this out and follow from the fields to the visual cortex using 4 colors remember: fields are reversed and upside down
Visual fields Location of lesion:

1. Optic nerve
1. 2.

ipsilateral (same side) blind eye

2. Chiasmatic (pituitary tumors classically)

lateral half of both eyes gone

3. 2.

3. Optic tract
opposite half of visual field gone


4. & 5. Distal to geniculate ganglion of thalamus:

homonymous superior field (4) or homonymous inferior field (5) defect


5. 4.

Visual cortex

Terminology, remember
 Optic refers to the eye  Otic refers to the ear

 Getting eyedrops and ear drops mixed up is probably not a good idea

The Ear

Parts of the ear

 Outer (external) ear  Middle ear (ossicles) for hearing)  Inner ear (labyrinth) for hearing & equilibrium

Sound in external acoustic meatus hits tympanic membrane (eardrum) it vibrates

Pressure is equalized by the pharyngotympanic tube (AKA eustachian or auditory tube)


TM causes ossicles in air filled middle ear to move:

 Malleus (hammer)  Incus (anvil)  Stapes (stirrup)
These are 3 of the smallest bones of the body

Ossicles articulate to form a lever system that amplifies and transmits the vibratory motion of the TM to fluids of inner ear cochlea via oval window


Skeletal muscles of middle ear

When loud, muscles contract, limiting vibration and dampening the noise


Inner ear = bony labyrinth of 3 parts

1. Cochlea - hearing 2. Vestibule - equilibrium 3. Semicircular canals equilibrium
Semicircular canals____ Filled with perilymph and endolymph fluids

In petrous part of the temporal bone

Vestibule___________ Cochlea_______________________


Spiral organ of Corti in cochlea contains receptors for hearing (amplifies sound 100 times)
 Vibration of stirrup at oval window starts traveling waves displacing basilar membrane  Sensory hair cells stimulated  Nerve ending of cochlear nerve division of VIII (Vestibulocochlear n.)


Auditory pathway


Equilibrium pathway
 Via vestibular nerve branch of VIII (Vestibulocochlear n.) to the brain stem  Only special sense for which most of the information goes to lower brain centers

Vestibule contains utricle and saccule

 Each contains a macula  Senses static equilibrium and linear acceleration of the head (not rotational movements)  Tips of hairs imbedded in otolithic membrane (calcium carbonate stones)  Vestibular nerve branches of VIII (Vestibulocochlear n.)


Semicircular canals

Each of the 3 lies in one of the 3 planes of space Sense rotational acceleration of the head Duct with ampulla housing a small crest: crista ampulla Hairs project into jellylike cupula & basilar cells synapse with fibers of vestibular nerve


VIII Vestibulocochlear nerve


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