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Sympathetic secretory innervation of the gastric mucosa

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1. Long-continued, rhythmic stimulation of the freshly-sectioned splanchnic nerves with an induction current, in dogs and cats, produces a steady secretion of alkaline mucus possessing a low digestive power. The same effect is obtained whether the stimulation is produced by currents of high or of low frequency. Repeated injection of small doses of epinephrine has an effect similar to that of splanchnic stimulation.

2. Twenty-four to seventy-two hours after aseptic section of the splanchnic nerves below the diaphragm, there is a spontaneous secretion of alkaline mucus in the stomach.

3. Electrical stimulation of the partly-degenerated splanchnic nerves, as well as repeated injections of epinephrine, causes a definite increase in the volume of the “paralytic mucous secretion”.

4. Atropine does not abolish the adrenalo-sympathetic mucous secretion; cocaine increases the response of the mucosa and ergotamine inhibits it.

5. Separation of the stomach into three parts—fundus, body and pylorus—indicates that the pylorus is the chief source of the sympathetic mucous secretion, the body of the stomach being less prolific in the secretion of mucus and the fundus very much less so.

6. Weak stimulation of the vagi produces a mucous secretion from the stomach of the dog and of the cat. Atropine inhibits this secretion, whereas ergotamine has no effect on it, indicating that the secretion is due to stimulation of parasympathetic fibres, and not of sympathetic fibres, present in the vagi.

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Correspondence to Stewart G. Baxter.

Additional information

A preliminary communication was published in the Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, 1932, vol. 29, p. 511.

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Baxter, S.G. Sympathetic secretory innervation of the gastric mucosa. American Journal of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition 1, 36 (1934).

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  • Cocaine
  • Gastric Secretion
  • Mucous Secretion
  • Ergotamine
  • Gastric Gland