Influence of the autonomic nervous system on calcium homeostasis in the rat

J. E. Stern, D. P. Cardinali

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The local surgical manipulation of sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves innervating the thyroid-parathyroid territory was employed to search for the existence of a peripheral neuroendocrine link controlling parathyroid hormone (PTH) and calcitonin (CT) release. From 8 to 24 h after superior cervical ganglionectomy (SCGx), at the time of wallerian degeneration of thyroid-parathyroid sympathetic nerve terminals, an α-adrenergic inhibition, together with a minor β-adrenergic stimulation, of hypercalcemia-induced CT release, and an α-adrenoceptor inhibition of hypocalcemia-induced PTH release were found. In chronically SCGx rats PTH response to EDTA was slower, and after CaCl2 infection, serum calcium attained higher levels in face of normal CT levels. SCGx blocked the PTH increase found in sham-operated rats stressed by a subcutaneous infection of turpentine oil, but did not affect the greater response to EDTA. The higher hypocalcemia seen after turpentine oil was no longer observed in SCGx rats. The effects of turpentine oil stress on calcium and CT responses to a bolus infection of CaCl2 persisted in rats subjected to SCGx 14 days earlier. Interruption of thyroid-parathyroid parasympathetic input conveyed by the thyroid nerves (TN) and the inferior laryngeal nerves (ILN) caused a fall in total serum calcium, an increase of PTH levels and a decrease of CT levels, when measured 10 days after surgery. Greater responses of serum CT and PTH were detected in TN-sectioned, and in TN- or ILN-sectioned rats, respectively. Physiological concentrations of CT decreased, and those of PTH increased, in vitro cholinergic activity in rat SCG, measured as specific choline uptake, and acetylcholine synthesis and release. The results indicate that cervical autonomic nerves constitute a pathway through which the brain modulates calcium homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-25
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Signals
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994


  • calcitonin
  • neuroendocrinology peripheral
  • parasympathetic preganglionic regulation
  • parathyroid hormone
  • superior cervical ganglion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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