House of Mind

"Biology gives you a brain. Life turns it into a mind" - Jeffrey Eugenides

  • 23rd July
    2011
  • 23
The Autonomic Nervous System Divide: Parasympathetic and Sympathetic Systems
Recently, I saw a similar diagram that left it at that. Considering I’ve never talked about either of these systems, I decided to expand a bit. 
The autonomic nervous system is part of the peripheral nervous system that exerts involuntary control over the body’s organs and other systems. It is divided into two branches: sympathetic and parasympathetic. In case you haven’t noticed, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems act in an antagonistic manner and cause opposite effects on target organs. Normally, these two systems are in equilibrium (or balanced) with each other but may be affected by external factors, such as stress. 
The sympathetic nervous system is located in the spinal cord and intermingles with motor fibers. It exerts its effects on our viscera including the adrenal gland, which secretes epinephrine (among other things). The sympathetic nerves secrete norepinephrine and innervate both vessels and visceral organs, thus enabling rapid reactions that result in the effects outlined above. Another way to think about this system is to remember this phrase: fight or flight response. When faced with an emergency, this system is triggered and 
in contrast to the sympathetic nervous sytem, the parasympathetic system acts as a brake mainly through acetylcholine secretion. A key phrase for this system is rest and digest.
Finally, one must remember that the autonomic system is constantly active; it’s function is not only limited to “fight or flight” or “rest and digest” responses. 
Sources:
Baumann, N and Jean-Claude Turpin. Neurochemistry of Stress: An overview. Neurochemistry Research. 35: 1875-1879. 
Chudler, Eric H. 2011. Autonomic Nervous System. Available at: http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/auto.html

The Autonomic Nervous System Divide: Parasympathetic and Sympathetic Systems

Recently, I saw a similar diagram that left it at that. Considering I’ve never talked about either of these systems, I decided to expand a bit. 

The autonomic nervous system is part of the peripheral nervous system that exerts involuntary control over the body’s organs and other systems. It is divided into two branches: sympathetic and parasympathetic. In case you haven’t noticed, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems act in an antagonistic manner and cause opposite effects on target organsNormally, these two systems are in equilibrium (or balanced) with each other but may be affected by external factors, such as stress. 

The sympathetic nervous system is located in the spinal cord and intermingles with motor fibers. It exerts its effects on our viscera including the adrenal gland, which secretes epinephrine (among other things). The sympathetic nerves secrete norepinephrine and innervate both vessels and visceral organs, thus enabling rapid reactions that result in the effects outlined above. Another way to think about this system is to remember this phrase: fight or flight response. When faced with an emergency, this system is triggered and 

in contrast to the sympathetic nervous sytem, the parasympathetic system acts as a brake mainly through acetylcholine secretion. A key phrase for this system is rest and digest.

Finally, one must remember that the autonomic system is constantly active; it’s function is not only limited to “fight or flight” or “rest and digest” responses. 

Sources:

Baumann, N and Jean-Claude Turpin. Neurochemistry of Stress: An overview. Neurochemistry Research. 35: 1875-1879. 

Chudler, Eric H. 2011. Autonomic Nervous System. Available at: http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/auto.html

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