Peripheral neuroendocrinology of the cervical autonomic nervous system.

D. P. Cardinali, Javier Eduardo Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


1. The sympathetic superior cervical ganglia (SCG) provide innervation to the pineal gland and median eminence through the internal carotid nerve and to the thyroid and parathyroid glands through the external carotid nerve. 2. Postsynaptic activation in median eminence nerve endings shortly after superior cervical ganglionectomy (SCGx) was accompanied by a depression of LH and FSH release and by a 3-5 day delay in rat estrous cyclicity. A decrease in TSH and GH release and an increase in ACTH and prolactin release were also found. These effects were accompanied by a) an increase in medial basal hypothalamic (MBH) LHRH, TRH and GHRH, b) a decrease in MBH somatostatin, AVP and CRH, and c) a normal adenohypophyseal response to hypophysiotropic hormones. Neurohypophyseal AVP release decreased during degeneration of sympathetic nerve terminals in the neurohypophyseal lobe after SCGx. The effects were generally mediated by alpha 1-adrenoceptors and were pineal gland. 3. In thyroid and parathyroid tissue the following events were observed during the wallerian degeneration phase after SCGx: a) alpha 1-adrenoceptor inhibition of thyroxine (T4) release, b) alpha 1-adrenoceptor inhibition, together with beta-adrenoceptor stimulation, of calcitonin release, and c) alpha 1-adrenoceptor inhibition of parathyroid hormone release. Thyroid sympathetic nerves also modulate slow phenomena such as compensatory thyroid growth after partial thyroidectomy. 4. In rats subjected to cholinergic decentralization of the thyroid gland, a decrease of plasma T4 and an increase of plasma TSH, as well as an impaired goitrogenic and thyroid compensatory response were detectable. The calcitonin and PTH response to changes in calcium levels increased after regional parasympathetic denervation. 5. The results indicate that cervical autonomic nerves constitute a parallel pathway through which the brain communicates with the endocrine system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-599
Number of pages27
JournalBrazilian journal of medical and biological research = Revista brasileira de pesquisas médicas e biológicas / Sociedade Brasileira de Biofísica ... [et al.]
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • General Neuroscience
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Cell Biology


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