What is the function of receptors in our body? Think of situations where receptors do not work properly. What problems are likely to arise?


-Priyanti, Subject Matter Expert at Edumarz

Solution: Receptors are biological transducers capable of converting the energy from external and internal stimuli to electrical impulses. Receptors maybe scattered throughout the body and function on their own, or come together to give rise to a sense organ. Afferent nerve fibres connect receptors to the central nervous system (CNS) and they have a dynamic receptive field. Different types of receptors function in different ways, and they can be classified into six main categories on the basis of their actions.

  • Mechanoreceptors: sensitive to mechanical stimuli such as touch and hearing

  • Thermoreceptors: sensitive to changes in temperature

  • Photoreceptors: sensitive to light

  • Chemoreceptors: sensitive to changes of chemical nature such as taste and smell

  • Osmoreceptors: sensitive to osmotic changes

  • Nociceptors: sensitive to pain

When receptors of the body sustain damage, they’re unable to process stimuli and convert them into electrical signals; as a result their responses get delayed or stop altogether. The patient can no longer be effectively aware of their internal and external environment and fail to react appropriately to different conditions. For example, if photoreceptors are damaged, it would lead to blindness as the responsible organs (rods and cones of eyes) fail to perceive light.

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