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Temperature sensation rests with receptors in three key sites:

  • peripheral thermoreceptors: present in skin as free nerve endings of A and C type fibres
  • central thermoreceptors: two types of receptor are found in the preoptic area of the anterior hypothalamus. One group responds to relative warmth, the other to relative cold.
  • other sites:
    • spinal cord
    • abdominal viscera
    • great veins

Cold thermoreceptors tend to be present in greater numbers. This is likely to be an adaptation to prevent hypothermia.

Last reviewed 01/2018