Definition of afferent in English:



  • Conducting or conducted inwards or towards something (for nerves, the central nervous system; for blood vessels, the organ supplied).

    The opposite of efferent
    • ‘Hypoxia could disturb respiratory afferent pathways and neural processing at more than one level.’
    • ‘There is increasing support for the idea that in asthma the efferent and afferent nerve fibers may be changed in their capacity to be stimulated.’
    • ‘In addition, the dorsal central column of primary afferent fibers within the spinal cord appears susceptible to the inhibitory effects of hypoxia in rats.’
    • ‘Sensory systems are generally presumed to convey peripheral afferent signals to the central nervous system with a high degree of fidelity.’
    • ‘Cough is mediated by the interaction of sensory afferent nerves, central cough reflexes, and local axon reflexes.’


  • An afferent nerve fibre or vessel.

    • ‘In addition, cholinergic afferents can be stimulated by a variety of mediators involved in allergen-induced airway inflammation.’
    • ‘It may also be the site of projection of proprioceptive afferents from the respiratory muscles and chest wall.’
    • ‘Proprioceptor afferents project to the phrenic motor neurons and affect their firing rate.’
    • ‘These afferents bypass the olfactory neuropil in the antennal lobe to project into the antennal mechanosensory and motor centers.’
    • ‘Muscle receptor afferents are involved in the level and timing of respiratory activity.’


Mid 19th century: from Latin afferent- ‘bringing towards’, from the verb afferre, from ad- ‘to’ + ferre ‘bring’.