Curtin, Charles B. Department of Biology, Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska.
Last reviewed:June 2020
- Cutaneous receptors
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A structure that is a receptor for external or internal stimulation. A sense organ is often referred to as a receptor organ. External stimuli affect the sensory structures that make up the general cutaneous surface of the body, the exteroceptive area, and the tissues of the body wall or the proprioceptive area. These somatic area receptors are known under the general term of exteroceptors. Internal stimuli that originate in various visceral organs, such as the intestinal tract or heart, affect the visceral sense organs or interoceptors. A receptor structure is not necessarily an organ; in many unicellular animals, it is a specialized structure within the organism. Receptors are named on the basis of the stimulus that affects them, permitting the organism to be sensitive to changes in its environment. See also: Chemical senses; Sensation
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