Branches of the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the autonomic nervous system extensively innervate the alimentary canal. These nerve fibers, mainly associated with the tube's muscular layer, maintain muscle tone and regulate the strength, rate, and velocity of muscular contractions. Many of the postganglionic fibers are organized into a network or plexus of neurons within the wall of the canal (see figure 17.3). The submucosal plexus is important in controlling secretions by the gastrointestinal tract. The myenteric plexus of the muscular layer controls gastrointestinal motility. The plexuses also contain sensory neurons.
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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.