Pathology Of The Autonomic Nervous System

2298 Words Nov 19th, 2014 10 Pages
Introduction

In this report, the symptoms of this patient will be diagnosed, and the causes of them discussed with reference to the physiology and pharmacology of the autonomic nervous system.

The Autonomic Nervous System
The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is the part of the motor division of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) that controls involuntary processes in the body (Wieczorek, 2014). Such functions include control of heart rate, gland activity, smooth muscle contraction and constriction of blood vessels (Biology-online.org, 2014). The ANS is divided into two branches, the sympathetic nervous system (SN) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PN). The SN is responsible for the “fight-or-flight” response, which results in increased preparedness for vigorous activity in response to exercise or emergency. The PN acts antagonistically to the SN, in that it produces the opposite effects to those of the SN. Under normal circumstances, the PN is dominant, and allows processes such as digestion and defecation to occur, while also conserving energy (Elmhurst.edu, 2014). Most of the visceral organs of the body are innervated by both sympathetic and parasympathetic neurones, with the exceptions being sweat glands and the smooth muscle of blood vessels- they are only innervated by sympathetic nerve fibres (Wieczorek, 2014).

In the ANS, a number of different neurotransmitters and receptors are present. In both the PN and SN, the neurotransmitter at the ganglia is…
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