peripheral nervous system (PNS)


The parts of the nervous system outside the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system or CNS), including nerves that send messages (electrical signals) between the CNS and the rest of the body.

The PNS is made up of the somatic nervous system (controls voluntary body movements like walking) and the autonomic nervous system (controls involuntary body functions like breathing and digestion). The autonomic nervous system is divided into the sympathetic nervous system (prepares the body for action) and the parasympathetic nervous system (controls various activities when the body is at rest).

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