sympathetic nervous system

sympathetic nervous system



: the part of the autonomic nervous system that is concerned especially with preparing the body to react to situations of stress or emergency, that contains chiefly adrenergic fibers and tends to depress secretion, decrease the tone and contractility of smooth muscle, increase heart rate, and that consists essentially of preganglionic fibers arising in the thoracic and upper lumbar parts of the spinal cord and passing through delicate white rami communicantes to ganglia located in a pair of sympathetic chains situated one on each side of the spinal column or to more peripheral ganglia or ganglionated plexuses and postganglionic fibers passing typically through gray rami communicantes to spinal nerves with which they are distributed to various end organs—called also sympathetic system; compare parasympathetic nervous system

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