Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 5 (1991), Issue 4, Pages 147-153
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/1991/949037
Review

Autonomic Regulation of Splanchnic Circulation

Kathleen A Fraser and Samuel S Lee

Gastroenterology Research Group, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Received 13 May 1991; Accepted 8 July 1991

Copyright © 1991 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The role of the autonomic nervous system in circulatory regulation of the splanchnic organs (stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, pancreas and spleen) is reviewed. In general, the sympathetic nervous system is primarily involved in vasoconstriction, while the parasympathetic contributes to vasodilation. Vasoconstriction in the splanchnic circulation appears to be mediated by alpha-2 receptors and vasodilation by activation of primary afferent nerves with subsequent release of vasodilatory peptides, or by stimulation of beta-adrenergic receptors. As well, an important function of the autonomic nervous system is to provide a mechanism by which splanchnic vascular reserve can be mobilized during stress to maintain overall cardiovascular homeostasis.