Almost all bodily functions are dependent on the functioning of the autonomic nervous system - from the cardiovascular system, the gastrointestinal tract, the evacuative and sexual organs, to the regulation of temperature, metabolism and tissue defence. Balanced functioning of this system is an important basis of our life and well-being. This book gives a detailed description of the cellular and integrative organization of the autonomic nervous system, covering both peripheral and central aspects. It brings to light modern neurobiological concepts that allow understanding of why the healthy system runs so smoothly and why its deterioration has such disastrous consequences. This academic reference volume will appeal to advanced undergraduate and graduate students studying the neurobiology of the autonomic nervous system within the various biological and medical sciences and will give access to ideas propagated in psychosomatic and alternative medicines.
Foreword; Introduction; Part I. The Autonomic Nervous System: Functional Anatomy and Visceral Afferents: 1. Functional anatomy of the peripheral autonomic system; 2. Visceral afferent neurons and autonomic regulations; Part II. Functional Organisation of the Peripheral Autonomic Nervous System: 3. The final autonomic pathway and its analysis; 4. The peripheral sympathetic and parasympathetic pathways; 5. The enteric nervous system; Part III. Transmission of Signals in the Peripheral Autonomic Nervous System: 6. Impulse transmission through autonomic ganglia; 7. Mechanisms of neuroeffector transmission; Part IV. Central Representation of the Autonomic Nervous System: 8. Anatomy of central autonomic systems; 9. Spinal autonomic systems; 10. Regulation of organ systems by the lower brain stem; 11. Integration of homeostatic regulations in upper brain stem and limbic-hypothalamic centres: a summary.