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Visceral Efferent Neurons: The Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Divisions 

Visceral Efferent Neurons: The Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Divisions
Chapter:
Visceral Efferent Neurons: The Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Divisions
Author(s):

Per Brodal

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190228958.003.0028
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date: 07 March 2021

Chapter 28 deals with visceral efferent neurons that form the efferent part of the autonomic nervous system. The sympathetic system is of special importance in stressful situations, whereas the parasympathetic system contributes primarily to maintenance. Both systems consist of two consecutive neurons. Preganglionic neurons have their cell bodies in the cord or brain stem, and their axons terminate in ganglia. Postganglionic neurons send their axons to smooth muscles and glands. The preganglionic sympathetic neurons lie in the intermediolateral column of the cord. All preganglionic neurons use acetylcholine as transmitter in the ganglia. Most postganglionic sympathetic neurons use norepinephrine, while parasympathetic neurons use acetylcholine. The preganglionic sympathetic fibers enter ganglia in the sympathetic trunk. From there postganglionic fibers follow the spinal nerves to the extremities and trunk. Sympathetic fibers to the viscera follow splanchnic nerves. The enteric system consists of neurons in the wall of the gastrointestinal tract.

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