Parasympathetic Nervous System - Research Article from World of Anatomy and Physiology

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Parasympathetic Nervous System

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is divided into two subsystems, the parasympathetic and sympathetic systems. Parasympathetic fibers innervate smooth muscle, cardiac muscle, and glandular tissue. In general, stimulation via parasympathetic fibers slows activity and results in a lowering of metabolic rate and a concordant conservation of energy.

Most target organs and tissues are innervated by neural fibers from both the parasympathetic and sympathetic systems. The systems can act to stimulate organs and tissues in opposite ways (antagonistically). For example, parasympathetic stimulation acts to decrease heart rate. In contrast, sympathetic stimulation results in increased heart rate. The systems can also act in concert to stimulate activity (e.g., both increase the production of saliva by salivary glands, but parasympathetic stimulation results in watery as opposed to viscous or thick saliva). Although they share a number of common features, the classification of the parasympathetic and the...

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This section contains 502 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Parasympathetic Nervous System Encyclopedia Article
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Parasympathetic Nervous System from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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