postganglionic sympathetic fibers


Summary: Nerve fibers which project from sympathetic ganglia to synapses on target organs. Sympathetic postganglionic fibers use norepinephrine as transmitter, except for those innervating eccrine sweat glands (and possibly some blood vessels) which use acetylcholine. They may also release peptide cotransmitters.

Top Publications

  1. Davis B, Wang H, Albers K, Carlson S, Goodness T, McKinnon D. Effects of NGF overexpression on anatomical and physiological properties of sympathetic postganglionic neurons. Brain Res. 1996;724:47-54 pubmed
    ..The hypertrophy of sympathetic ganglia in the transgenic mice was correlated with an increased innervation of skin and dorsal root ganglia, structures that either express the transgene or concentrate NGF produced by the skin. ..
  2. Zhang R, Levine B. Autonomic ganglionic blockade does not prevent reduction in cerebral blood flow velocity during orthostasis in humans. Stroke. 2007;38:1238-44 pubmed
    ..We speculate that diminished pulse arterial pressure or pulsatile blood flow may reduce cerebral vessel wall shear stress and contribute to reductions in CBF during orthostasis through flow mediated regulatory mechanisms. ..
  3. Xavier C, Nalivaiko E, Beig M, Menezes G, Cara D, Campagnole Santos M, et al. Functional asymmetry in the descending cardiovascular pathways from dorsomedial hypothalamic nucleus. Neuroscience. 2009;164:1360-8 pubmed publisher
    ..05). These results indicate that the descending cardiovascular pathways from DMH are predominantly lateralized and the right DMH might exert a prominent control on heart rate changes during emotional stress. ..
  4. Crutcher K. Aging and neuronal plasticity: lessons from a model. Auton Neurosci. 2002;96:25-32 pubmed
    ..Age-related reductions in neuronal sprouting are speculated to reflect increasing commitment to information storage at the expense of neuronal plasticity. ..
  5. Xie W, Deng H, Li H, Bowen T, Strong J, Zhang J. Robust increase of cutaneous sensitivity, cytokine production and sympathetic sprouting in rats with localized inflammatory irritation of the spinal ganglia. Neuroscience. 2006;142:809-22 pubmed
  6. Tsuchimochi H, Nakamoto T, Matsukawa K. Centrally evoked increase in adrenal sympathetic outflow elicits immediate secretion of adrenaline in anaesthetized rats. Exp Physiol. 2010;95:93-106 pubmed publisher
    ..Thus, it is likely that feedforward control of catecholamine secretion from the adrenal medulla plays a role in conducting rapid hormonal control of the cardiovascular system at the beginning of exercise. ..
  7. Luza S, Arancibia S, Venegas M, Lara H. Thyrotropin-releasing hormone as a mediator of the central autonomic pathway controlling ovarian function. Neuroendocrinology. 2003;77:273-81 pubmed
    ..c.v. doses of TRH used produced changes in T(3) plasma levels, strongly suggesting that the effect on sympathetic activity is mediated by a central effect of TRH acting as a putative activator of ovarian sympathetic nerves. ..
  8. Collins D, Gilbey M. Cutaneous sympathetic motor rhythms in the decerebrate rat. Neuroscience. 2003;117:981-9 pubmed
  9. Gibbons C, Illigens B, Centi J, Freeman R. QDIRT: quantitative direct and indirect test of sudomotor function. Neurology. 2008;70:2299-304 pubmed publisher
    ..QDIRT provides a novel tool for the evaluation of postganglionic sudomotor function. ..

More Information


  1. Albrecht P, Davar G, Eisenberg E, Pare M, Rice F. Response to editorial on Albrecht et al. (2006). Pain. 2006;123:217 pubmed
  2. Tsuda H, Ishikawa H, Kishiro M, Koga N, Kashima Y. Abducens nerve palsy and postganglionic Horner syndrome with or without severe headache. Intern Med. 2006;45:851-5 pubmed
    ..To report the clinical features of 9 patients with both abducens nerve palsy and postganglionic Horner syndrome...
  3. Heurich M, Mousa S, Lenzner M, Morciniec P, Kopf A, Welte M, et al. Influence of pain treatment by epidural fentanyl and bupivacaine on homing of opioid-containing leukocytes to surgical wounds. Brain Behav Immun. 2007;21:544-52 pubmed
    ..These findings suggest that nociceptive but not sympathetic neurons are primarily involved in the attraction of opioid-containing leukocytes during early stages of inflammation. ..
  4. Takahashi K, Aoki Y, Ohtori S. Resolving discogenic pain. Eur Spine J. 2008;17 Suppl 4:428-31 pubmed publisher
    ..NGF in the NP may promote axonal growth. Lumbar fusion may inhibit nerve ingrowth into the degenerated disk and reduce the percentage of calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP)-positive neurons. ..
  5. Motagally M, Lukewich M, Chisholm S, Neshat S, Lomax A. Tumour necrosis factor alpha activates nuclear factor kappaB signalling to reduce N-type voltage-gated Ca2+ current in postganglionic sympathetic neurons. J Physiol. 2009;587:2623-34 pubmed publisher
  6. Pertovaara A, Wei H. Peripheral effects of morphine in neuropathic rats: role of sympathetic postganglionic nerve fibers. Eur J Pharmacol. 2001;429:139-45 pubmed
    ..Sympathectomy of the neuropathic limb may underlie, at least partly, the increased peripheral efficacy of morphine in neuropathy. ..
  7. Gilbey M. Multiple oscillators, dynamic synchronization and sympathetic control. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2001;28:130-7 pubmed
    ..5. The potential functional significance of dynamic synchronization of sympathetic oscillators in relation to sympathetic pattern generation and neuroeffector transmission is discussed. ..
  8. Kitaoka H. [Sympathetic skin response (SSR)]. Nihon Rinsho. 2002;60 Suppl 8:610-4 pubmed
  9. Miyawaki T, Goodchild A, Pilowsky P. Activation of mu-opioid receptors in rat ventrolateral medulla selectively blocks baroreceptor reflexes while activation of delta opioid receptors blocks somato-sympathetic reflexes. Neuroscience. 2002;109:133-44 pubmed
    ..We propose that opioid peptides diminish specific excitatory and inhibitory inputs to the presympathetic neurons in RVLM via distinct presynaptic receptor subclasses. ..
  10. Li Y, Zhu B, Rong P, Ben H, Li Y. Neural mechanism of acupuncture-modulated gastric motility. World J Gastroenterol. 2007;13:709-16 pubmed
    ..Only the acupuncture-stimulation with intensity over the threshold of A delta and/or C afferent fibers can markedly modulate gastrointestinal motility. ..
  11. Gonsalvez D, Kerman I, McAllen R, Anderson C. Chemical coding for cardiovascular sympathetic preganglionic neurons in rats. J Neurosci. 2010;30:11781-91 pubmed publisher
    ..We suggest that CART immunoreactivity may identify the postulated "accessory" preganglionic neurons, whose actions may amplify vasomotor ganglionic transmission. ..
  12. Masliukov P, Fateev M, Nozdrachev A. Age-dependent changes of electrophysiologic characteristics of the stellate ganglion conducting pathways in kittens. Auton Neurosci. 2000;83:12-8 pubmed
    ..All branches of the stellate ganglia of 20-day-old kittens contain both continuous and synaptically switched fibers. ..
  13. Manni L, Lundeberg T. Effects of cholecystokinin-8 in peripheral neuropathies: a nerve growth factor mediated action?. Arch Ital Biol. 2003;141:117-26 pubmed
  14. Lambert E, Straznicky N, Schlaich M, Esler M, Dawood T, Hotchkin E, et al. Differing pattern of sympathoexcitation in normal-weight and obesity-related hypertension. Hypertension. 2007;50:862-8 pubmed
    ..The underlying central nervous system mechanism and the adverse consequences of the 2 modes of sympathetic activation may differ. ..
  15. Ruskell G. Orbital passage of pterygopalatine ganglion efferents to paranasal sinuses and nasal mucosa in man. Cells Tissues Organs. 2003;175:223-8 pubmed
    ..Appropriate chemical lesions, on the other hand, could ensure destruction of isolated parasympathetic nerves while limiting damage to the larger anterior ethmoidal nerve...
  16. Nozdrachev A, Jimenez B, Morales M, Fateev M. Neuronal organization and cell interactions of the cat stellate ganglion. Auton Neurosci. 2002;95:43-56 pubmed
    ..Thus, the SG may play an essential role in viscera-visceral reflexes. ..
  17. Scheiderer C, McCutchen E, Thacker E, Kolasa K, Ward M, Parsons D, et al. Sympathetic sprouting drives hippocampal cholinergic reinnervation that prevents loss of a muscarinic receptor-dependent long-term depression at CA3-CA1 synapses. J Neurosci. 2006;26:3745-56 pubmed
  18. Gómez Choco M, Valls Sole J, Grau J, Graus F. Episodic hyperhidrosis as the only clinical manifestation of neuromyotonia. Neurology. 2005;65:1331-2 pubmed
  19. Korsak A, Gilbey M. Rostral ventromedial medulla and the control of cutaneous vasoconstrictor activity following i.c.v. prostaglandin E(1). Neuroscience. 2004;124:709-17 pubmed
    ..In contrast, we were unable to demonstrate that the same area had a substantial involvement in the control of splanchnic nerve activity or heart rate, even when these were enhanced following i.c.v. prostaglandin E(1). ..
  20. Jamieson J, Boyd H, McLachlan E. Simulations to derive membrane resistivity in three phenotypes of guinea pig sympathetic postganglionic neuron. J Neurophysiol. 2003;89:2430-40 pubmed
    ..Because Ph and LAH neurons relay selected preganglionic inputs directly, R(m) generally affects function only in T neurons that integrate multiple subthreshold inputs and are modulated by peptidergic transmitters. ..
  21. Mylius V, Kunz M, Hennighausen E, Lautenbacher S, Schepelmann K. Effects of ageing on spinal motor and autonomic pain responses. Neurosci Lett. 2008;446:129-32 pubmed publisher
  22. Tyvaert L, Laureau E, Hurtevent J, Hurtevent J, Derambure P, Monaca C. A-delta and C-fibres function in primary restless legs syndrome. Neurophysiol Clin. 2009;39:267-74 pubmed publisher
    ..Even though sufferers of this specific form of RLS report sensory symptoms, pathogenesis appears to be dissociated from a PNS alteration. ..
  23. Niissalo S, Hukkanen M, Imai S, Tornwall J, Konttinen Y. Neuropeptides in experimental and degenerative arthritis. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002;966:384-99 pubmed
  24. Page P, Andrew Armour J, Yin Y, Vermeulen M, Nadeau R, Cardinal R. Differential effects of cervical vagosympathetic and mediastinal nerve activation on atrial arrhythmia formation in dogs. Auton Neurosci. 2006;128:9-18 pubmed
    ..Thus, differential contributions are made to the electrophysiologic substrate of neurally induced atrial tachyarrhythmias depending on the pattern of engagement of neural elements within the autonomic neuronal hierarchy. ..
  25. Diedrich A, Porta A, Barbic F, Brychta R, Bonizzi P, Diedrich L, et al. Lateralization of expression of neural sympathetic activity to the vessels and effects of carotid baroreceptor stimulation. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2009;296:H1758-65 pubmed publisher
    ..Carotid baroreceptor stimulation disrupted such expression of MSNA lateralization possibly by disturbing the synchronizing action of right cerebral hemisphere. ..
  26. Habler H, Stegmann J, Timmermann L, Janig W. Functional evidence for the differential control of superficial and deep blood vessels by sympathetic vasoconstrictor and primary afferent vasodilator fibres in rat hairless skin. Exp Brain Res. 1998;118:230-4 pubmed
  27. Yamazaki T, Akiyama T, Mori H. Effects of nociceptin on cardiac norepinephrine and acetylcholine release evoked by ouabain. Brain Res. 2001;904:153-6 pubmed
    ..These findings demonstrate that nociceptin inhibits cardiac autonomic neurotransmission via a presynaptic opioid receptor-like1(ORL1) receptor. ..
  28. Schmidt R, Dorsey D, Beaudet L, Parvin C, Zhang W, Sima A. Experimental rat models of types 1 and 2 diabetes differ in sympathetic neuroaxonal dystrophy. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2004;63:450-60 pubmed
  29. Habecker B, Klein M, Sundgren N, Li W, Woodward W. Developmental regulation of neurotransmitter phenotype through tetrahydrobiopterin. J Neurosci. 2002;22:9445-52 pubmed
    ..These data also indicate that GCH expression, which is often coordinately regulated with TH expression, can be controlled independently of TH during development...
  30. Drummond P. Immersion of the hand in ice water releases adrenergic vasoconstrictor tone in the ipsilateral temple. Auton Neurosci. 2006;128:70-5 pubmed
    ..Instead, they suggest that the sympathetic nervous system is highly differentiated, with separate control of discrete reflex pathways on each side of the body. ..
  31. Erdogmus S, Govsa F. Anatomic characteristics of the ophthalmic and posterior ciliary arteries. J Neuroophthalmol. 2008;28:320-4 pubmed publisher
    ..Because the most common pattern of PCAs is a medial and lateral branch, a surgical approach to the orbit from those directions carries a higher risk of damage to those vessels than a superior or inferior approach. ..
  32. Rigamonti A, Iurlaro S, Zelioli A, Agostoni E. Two symptomatic cases of cluster headache associated with internal carotid artery dissection. Neurol Sci. 2007;28 Suppl 2:S229-31 pubmed
    ..These cases highlight the need for extensive neuroradiological investigation in cluster headache patients when atypical features are present. ..
  33. Kitayama M, Wada Isoe K, Irizawa Y, Nakashima K. Association of visual hallucinations with reduction of MIBG cardiac uptake in Parkinson's disease. J Neurol Sci. 2008;264:22-6 pubmed
    ..Cardiac sympathetic dysfunction may be associated with the presence of VH in PD patients. ..
  34. Slater M, Murphy C, Barden J. Purinergic receptor expression in the apical plasma membrane of rat uterine epithelial cells during implantation. Cell Calcium. 2002;31:201-7 pubmed
  35. Parisi L, Rossi P, Valente G, Fattapposta F, Mellina V, Martini A, et al. Estimation of the conduction velocity of sympathetic sudomotor C fibres in healthy subjects: study of sympathetic skin reflex. Funct Neurol. 2001;16:231-7 pubmed
  36. Ulas M, Penkowski A, Lakomy M. Adrenergic and cholinergic innervation of the chicken pancreas. Folia Morphol (Warsz). 2003;62:243-6 pubmed
    ..Single TH- and ChAT-positive nerve cell bodies were also found in the organ under study. ..
  37. Marrachelli V, Miranda F, Alabadí J, Milán M, Cano Jaimez M, Kirstein M, et al. Perivascular nerve fiber ?-synuclein regulates contractility of mouse aorta: a link to autonomic dysfunction in Parkinson's disease. Neurochem Int. 2010;56:991-8 pubmed publisher
  38. Li Y, Qiu J, Yan R, Yang Z, Zhang T. Weakened long-range correlation of renal sympathetic nerve activity in Wistar rats after anaesthesia. Neurosci Lett. 2008;433:28-32 pubmed publisher
    ..However, this memory is significantly weakened by anaesthesia. ..
  39. Friedman J, Amick M, Chou K. Rhinorrhea and olfaction in Parkinson disease. Neurology. 2008;70:487-9 pubmed publisher
  40. Liu Y, Li Z, Svarén Quiding C, Cui J, Ozenci V, Bakhiet M. Splenic denervation suppresses mRNA gene expression and protein production of IL-1beta and IL-6 by peritoneal macrophages in both Trypanosoma brucei brucei-infected and non-infected rats. Neuroimmunomodulation. 2004;11:113-8 pubmed
    ..Our data indicate a probably stimulatory role of the sympathetic nervous system during the host immune response in both normal and T. brucei brucei-infected rats. ..
  41. Koyama N, Hirata K, Hori K, Dan K, Yokota T. Biphasic vasomotor reflex responses of the hand skin following intradermal injection of melittin into the forearm skin. Eur J Pain. 2002;6:447-53 pubmed
    ..The initial decrease was interpreted as sympathetic vasoconstrictor reflex induced by noxious stimulation and the later increase as release of sympathetic vasomotor tone. ..
  42. Aalbers M, Rijkers K, van Winden L, Hoogland G, Vles J, Majoie H. Horner's syndrome: a complication of experimental carotid artery surgery in rats. Auton Neurosci. 2009;147:64-9 pubmed publisher
    ..However, rats affected by HS may suffer from damage to the sympathetic innervation of the gut, due to rat-specific neuroanatomy. Therefore, caution towards other research questions is warranted. ..
  43. Ralevic V, Kendall D. Cannabinoids inhibit pre- and postjunctionally sympathetic neurotransmission in rat mesenteric arteries. Eur J Pharmacol. 2002;444:171-81 pubmed
    ..The pre-junctional action is mediated by a cannabinoid CB(1)-like receptor, but the postjunctional action does not appear to involve either cannabinoid CB(1) or CB(2) receptors. ..
  44. Vongpatanasin W, Tuncel M, Mansour Y, Arbique D, Victor R. Transdermal estrogen replacement therapy decreases sympathetic activity in postmenopausal women. Circulation. 2001;103:2903-8 pubmed
    ..Because the effects of transdermal ERT are larger than those of oral ERT, the route of administration may be an important consideration in optimizing the beneficial effects of ERT on BP and overall cardiovascular health. ..
  45. Dai X, Galligan J, Watts S, Fink G, Kreulen D. Increased O2*- production and upregulation of ETB receptors by sympathetic neurons in DOCA-salt hypertensive rats. Hypertension. 2004;43:1048-54 pubmed
  46. Mitsui J, Saito Y, Momose T, Shimizu J, Arai N, Shibahara J, et al. Pathology of the sympathetic nervous system corresponding to the decreased cardiac uptake in 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scintigraphy in a patient with Parkinson disease. J Neurol Sci. 2006;243:101-4 pubmed
    ..Our study may provide further evidence that the markedly decreased cardiac uptake of MIBG observed in PD cases represents preferential involvement of the cardiac sympathetic nerve plexus in this disorder. ..
  47. Zhou Y, Deneris E, Zigmond R. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit proteins alpha7 and beta4 decrease in the superior cervical ganglion after axotomy. J Neurobiol. 2001;46:178-92 pubmed
  48. Nedergaard O. Effect of omega-conotoxin GVIA on noradrenaline release from postganglionic sympathetic neurones in rabbit aorta. Pharmacol Toxicol. 2000;86:30-5 pubmed
  49. Quintas L, Noël F. Mechanisms of adaptive supersensitivity in vas deferens. Auton Neurosci. 2009;146:38-46 pubmed publisher
    ..The present review provides a general understanding of adaptive supersensitivity and emphasizes early and recent information about the putative mechanisms involved in this phenomenon in rodent vas deferens. ..
  50. Abdelmelek H, Molnar A, Servais S, Cottet Emard J, Pequignot J, Favier R, et al. Skeletal muscle HSP72 and norepinephrine response to static magnetic field in rat. J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2006;113:821-7 pubmed
    ..05). The results indicate that noradrenergic systems in rat's gastrocnemius muscles are affected by MF exposure. Interestingly, sub-acute exposure insufficiency increased HSP72 levels in gastrocnemius muscles. ..
  51. Davies A. Extracellular signals regulating sympathetic neuron survival and target innervation during development. Auton Neurosci. 2009;151:39-45 pubmed publisher
    ..In this review, I will document the roles of neurotrophic factors, cytokines and other extracellular signals in regulating sympathetic neuron survival and target innervation at sequential stages of development. ..
  52. Bremner F, Smith S. Pupillographic findings in 39 consecutive cases of harlequin syndrome. J Neuroophthalmol. 2008;28:171-7 pubmed publisher
    ..Anecdotal reports suggest that some of these patients have abnormal pupils. In this study we set out to systematically investigate autonomic pupil disturbances in an unselected cohort of patients with harlequin syndrome...
  53. Wray D, Raven P, Sander M. Diminished baroreflex-induced vasoconstriction following alpha-2 adrenergic receptor blockade in humans. Auton Neurosci. 2008;138:114-7 pubmed
    ..These data indicate that alpha-2 adrenergic receptors contribute significantly to CBR-induced vasoconstriction in the human leg under resting conditions. ..