Why do we have ganglia at all? Watch

jsmith6131
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In the somatic nervous system the skeletal muscle efferent pathway involves only a single nerve fibre. What is the function of having a pre and post ganglionic nerve fibre in the autonomic nervous system?
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Hype en Ecosse
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(Original post by jsmith6131)
In the somatic nervous system the skeletal muscle efferent pathway involves only a single nerve fibre. What is the function of having a pre and post ganglionic nerve fibre in the autonomic nervous system?
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Well, the skeletal muscle pathway actually conists of 2 neurons. An upper motor neuron emerging (usually) from the motor cortex, and then the LMN it synapses onto in the ventral grey horn of the spinal cord. Similarly, the autonomic nervous system consists of 3! From the brain to the spinal cord; from the lateral grey horn to the ganglion; from the ganglion to its innervation.

The ganglia function mainly as a point of consolidation for the nervous system. If it only consisted of a single efferent emerging from the spinal cord, that would limit the organisational potential in the autonomic nervous system, and its ability to co-ordinate action over a large site of innervation. However, with ganglia, it allows consolidation of nerve fibres from multiple regions of the spinal cord, better organisation of post-ganglionic signals (e.g. think of the wide-spread innervation of the foregut and midgut by the vagus nerve and the simultaneous, widespread, yet co-ordinated actions of the sympathetic nervous system).
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jsmith6131
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(Original post by Hype en Ecosse)
Well, the skeletal muscle pathway actually conists of 2 neurons. An upper motor neuron emerging (usually) from the motor cortex, and then the LMN it synapses onto in the ventral grey horn of the spinal cord. Similarly, the autonomic nervous system consists of 3! From the brain to the spinal cord; from the lateral grey horn to the ganglion; from the ganglion to its innervation.

The ganglia function mainly as a point of consolidation for the nervous system. If it only consisted of a single efferent emerging from the spinal cord, that would limit the organisational potential in the autonomic nervous system, and its ability to co-ordinate action over a large site of innervation. However, with ganglia, it allows consolidation of nerve fibres from multiple regions of the spinal cord, better organisation of post-ganglionic signals (e.g. think of the wide-spread innervation of the foregut and midgut by the vagus nerve and the simultaneous, widespread, yet co-ordinated actions of the sympathetic nervous system).
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