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(1) The terminal link in the chain of neurons in the reflex arc. The effectors of the central nervous system transmit impulses to the peripheral organs and tissues.
(2) In animals and man, one of the effector organs by means of which the body responds to external and internal stimuli or engages in work activity. Depending on the nature and purpose of the response, effectors form dynamic systems that include various organs; for example, in the case of physical labor they include the muscles, blood vessels, heart, and endocrine glands. Chromatophores, luminescent organs, and electric organs are also included in the category of effectors.
Effector regulation takes place both on the organ level and on the level of cellular and subcellular formations; such regulation performs the function of triggering the beginning and cessation of work and has an adaptotrophic effect (intensiveness and qualitative characteristics of the effector reaction). The composition and interrelation of the effectors within a system depend on the degree of conditioning and reinforcement of the response and on the state of the effectors.
(3) In biochemistry, a metabolic product that by combining with an enzyme increases or diminishes its activity.
V. I. MEDVEDEV