Control of Autonomic Activity

Although the autonomic nervous system has some independence resulting from impulse integration within its ganglia, it is largely controlled by the brain and spinal cord. For example, recall the control centers in the medulla oblongata for cardiac, vasomotor, and respiratory activities. These reflex centers receive sensory impulses from viscera by means of vagus nerve fibers and use autonomic nerve pathways to stimulate motor responses in various muscles and glands. Thus, they control the autonomic nervous system. Similarly, the hypothalamus helps regulate body temperature, hunger, thirst, and water and electrolyte balance by influencing autonomic pathways.

Still higher levels within the brain, including the limbic system and the cerebral cortex, control the auto-nomic nervous system during emotional stress. In this way, the autonomic pathways can affect emotional expression and behavior. Subsequent chapters that deal with individual organs and organ systems discuss regulation of particular organs.

Distinguish between cholinergic and adrenergic fibers.

Explain how the fibers of one autonomic division can control the actions of a particular organ.

Which neurotransmitters are used in the autonomic nervous system?

Describe two types of cholinergic receptors and two types of adrenergic receptors.

Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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