Role of the Central Nervous System in Cardiovascular Regulation

  • K. L. Barnes
  • C. M. Ferrario
Part of the Clinical Medicine and the Nervous System book series (CLIN.MED.NERV.)


Although the participation of the central nervous system (CNS) in the regulation of cardiovascular function has been known for more than a century, the pervasive significance of neural mechanisms has only been recognized quite recently. In addition to the well-established role of the CNS in regulating the balance of sympathetic and parasympathetic outflow and controlling cardiovascular reflexes, it is now becoming clear that endocrine mechanisms are integrated with neural factors into a complex system of neuroendocrine control of cardiovascular regulation. These findings are being combined with pharmaco logical, molecular biological, and clinical areas of investigation into an emergent discipline of “cardiovascular neurobiology.” This chapter focuses selectively upon evidence for the importance of medullary pathways in CNS cardiovascular regulation, particularly the afferent functions of the area postrema and nucleus tractus solitarii, the efferent mechanisms of the ventrolateral medulla, and the significance of these regions for neuroendocrine integration.


Area Postrema Ventrolateral Medulla Cardiovascular Regulation Rostral Ventrolateral Medulla Carotid Sinus Nerve 
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  • K. L. Barnes
  • C. M. Ferrario

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