Autonomic Nervous System – Autonomic Nerves of Abdominopelvic Organs

by James Pickering, PhD

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    00:00 So let's have a look at the anatomy rather than just the definitions.

    00:01 Now you may have come across a diagram like this in the past.

    00:05 But here we can see we have the brain and then descending down from the brain we have the central nervous system.

    00:12 We can see that we have the cranial region of the brainstem and the brain really indicating where para-sympathetic part of the autonomic nervous system will arise.

    00:25 We then have the cervical aspect of the cord We have the thoraco and lumbar aspect of the cord.

    00:31 and then we have the sacral aspect of the cord.

    00:34 And you can see that in this thoracolumbar region in green we have a whole series of sympathetic nerve fibers.

    00:42 We can follow these. We can see a cell body is located within the spinal cord.

    00:50 In the actual intermedial lateral part of the grey horn within the thoracic lumbar parts of the spinal cord.

    01:01 And we can see its cell body is located there and it ascends the pre-ganglionic fiber heading towards the autonomic ganglia. Now if we are talking about the thorax we'd see that these would synapse in the sympathetic chain. But for the abdomen they pass through the sympathetic chain they pass through the sympathetic chain and they go directly to the coeliac ganglia, superior mesenteric ganglia, or the inferior mesenteric ganglia.

    01:30 And these ganglia are going to be associated with three unpaired blood vessels coming away from the aorta and that's what we can see here.

    01:43 In this diagram we can see the coeliac trunk and next to it we have our coeliac ganglion.

    01:48 We can see the superior mesenteric artery and next to it we can make out the superior mesenteric ganglion.

    01:57 We have the inferior mesenteric artery and next to it we have the inferior mesenteric ganglia. And we can see these ganglia coeliac, superior mesenteric, inferior mesenteric are receiving these pre-ganglionic fibers. These pre-ganglionic fibers.

    02:17 And what happen in these ganglia as they synapse with a post-ganglionic fiber and these will piggyback on the arteries, coeliac trunk piggyback on the arteries, the superior mesenteric artery and piggyback on the inferior mesenteric artery to go to their organ.

    02:37 Now again, we know that the coeliac trunk is going to supply the foregut We know that the superior mesenteric artery is going to supply the midgut and we know that the inferior mesenteric artery is going to supply the hindgut.

    03:00 So the autonomic ganglia and the coeliac trunk supplies the foregut; around the superior mesenteric artery supplies the midgut.

    03:09 The autonomic ganglia around the inferior mesenteric artery supplies the hindgut.

    03:14 So what we need to know is how do these ganglia receive their pre-ganglionic fibers. From what levels of the spinal cord do these pre-aortic ganglia receive their pre-ganglionic fibers. Because if we know that then that will help us when we go on to referred the pain, towards the end.

    03:42 You can also see and we will explore this later on when we get towards the pelvis, we have the superior hypogastric plexus down here and we will come back to that later on.

    03:52 What we can see if we go up towards the more cranial region is that we have the vagus nerve. We have a whole series of other cranial nerves: oculomotor nerve glossopharyngeal nerve, facial nerve and these carry para-sympathetic fibers to the head and neck structures.

    04:12 We are not much worried about that. We are concerned with the vagus nerve passing down, you see, gives para-sympathetic fibers to the heart, into the lungs. But what you'll notice is that this para-sympathetic, pre-ganglionic fiber that's passing within the vagus nerve is incredibly long.

    04:32 See it running all the way down here and it doesn't...

    04:39 it doesn't synapse with it's post-ganglionic fiber at the autonomic ganglia associated with the blood vessels, the three unpaired blood vessels.

    04:52 It can pass to the coeliac plexus superior mesenteric plexus, inferior mesenteric plexus but it doesn't synapse. It passes straight through and it only synapses when it gets to the target organ.

    05:07 Meaning the post-ganglionic fibers of the para-sympathetic system are very short.

    05:17 They synapses within the walls of the target organ and we can see that here. We have the very short post-ganglionic fibers.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Autonomic Nervous System – Autonomic Nerves of Abdominopelvic Organs by James Pickering, PhD is from the course Pelvis.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Superior mesenteric artery
    2. Celiac artery
    3. Inferior mesenteric artery
    4. Common carotid artery
    5. Common iliac artery

    Author of lecture Autonomic Nervous System – Autonomic Nerves of Abdominopelvic Organs

     James Pickering, PhD

    James Pickering, PhD

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