The autonomic nervous system maintains the visceral and homeostatic functions essential to life. It is divided into SYMPATHETIC and PARASYMPATHETIC components and contains both motor (efferent) and sensory (afferent) pathways.
Both sympathetic and parasympathetic systems are regulated by the limbic system, hypothalamus and reticular formation. Fibres from these structures descend to synapse with preganglionic neurons in the intermediolateral column T1-T12 (sympathetic) and in the III, VII, IX and X cranial nerve nuclei and S2-S4 segments of the cord (parasympathetic).
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