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Central Regulation of Autonomic Functions$
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Ida J. Llewellyn-Smith and Anthony J. M. Verberne

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195306637

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306637.001.0001

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The Ventrolateral Medulla and Sympathetic Regulation of Arterial Pressure

The Ventrolateral Medulla and Sympathetic Regulation of Arterial Pressure

(p.78) 5 The Ventrolateral Medulla and Sympathetic Regulation of Arterial Pressure
Central Regulation of Autonomic Functions

Ann M. Schreihofer

Alan F. Sved

Oxford University Press

The ventrolateral medulla plays a critical role in the regulation of arterial blood pressure, mainly by regulating sympathetic nerve activity to cardiovascular targets such as the heart and blood vessels. This chapter focuses on the rat as an experimental model and discusses how different regions of the ventrolateral medulla, which are organized into semi-continuous columns, maintain basal sympathetic nerve activity to vascular targets in health and in diseases such as hypertension. The chapter emphasizes the importance of sympathoexcitatory neurons in the rostral ventrolateral medulla, and neurons in the caudal ventrolateral medulla that inhibit them, in the short term regulation of arterial pressure through effects on sympathetic reflexes. The chapter summarizes the extensive body of anatomical and physiological information about these neurons and highlights the on-going pursuit to better understand how these critical neurons are regulated in normotensive and hypertensive states.

Keywords:   ventrolateral medulla, sympathetic nerve activity, hypertension, arterial pressure, cardiovascular, baroreceptor reflex, chemoreceptor reflex

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