Peripheral nervous system
part of the nervous system
The peripheral nervous system, or PNS, is part of the nervous system. It consists of the nerves and ganglia which are outside the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). The main function of the PNS is to connect the central nervous system (CNS) to the limbs and organs.
The PNS is not protected by bone like the central nervous system. Therefore it is exposed to toxins and mechanical injuries. The peripheral nervous system is divided into the somatic nervous system (SNS) and the autonomic nervous system (ANS). But the enteric nervous system (ENS) can be seen as a third branch of its own and not as part of the autonomic nervous system.
- The SNS coordinates your body's movement, receiving external stimuli, and regulates everything under conscious control.
- The ANS controls all automatic actions. That means that it controls all reflexes and actions during sleep.
- The ENS controls the gastrointestinal system.