Peripheral nervous system

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 19 Oct 2022

The peripheral nervous system (PNS) consists of the nerves (cranial nerves III-XII and spinal) and their related ganglia outside the central nervous system (CNS). The latter comprising the brain and spinal cord. The central nervous system and peripheral nervous system together form the nervous system.

Unlike the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system is not protected by:

NB: cranial nerves I and II are considered part of the CNS


The main function of the peripheral nervous system is to allow the brain and spinal cord to communicate with the viscera and musculoskeletal system.

The peripheral nervous system has two main elements:

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