Central Autonomic Control of the Pancreas
The autonomic nervous system plays a major role in controlling the exocrine and endocrine functions of the pancreas. This chapter provides an overview of the peripheral (parasympathetic, sympathetic, sensory, and intrinsic) innervation of the pancreas as well as the regulation and modulation exerted by ‘higher order’ pathways in the central nervous system. The neurophysiological outcomes of these diverse neural inputs are discussed as are the principal neurotransmitters involved. Overwhelming evidence suggests that specific pancreatic functions are regulated by discrete neural circuits Nevertheless, the apparent complexity of autonomic control and the interconnections between neuropeptide and neurohormone mechanisms of action suggests that we do not yet fully appreciate the diversity of neural regulation of the pancreas.
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