Musings on the wanderer: What's new in our understanding of vago-vagal reflexes? III. Activity-dependent plasticity in vago-vagal reflexes controlling the stomach

R. Alberto Travagli, Gerlinda E. Hermann, Kirsteen N. Browning, Richard C. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

54 Scopus citations

Abstract

Vago-vagal reflex circuits modulate digestive functions from the oral cavity to the transverse colon. Previous articles in this series have described events at the level of the sensory receptors encoding the peripheral stimuli, the transmission of information in the afferent vagus, and the conversion of this data within the dorsal vagal complex (DVC) to impulses in the preganglionic efferents. The control by vagal efferents of the postganglionic neurons impinging on the glands and smooth muscles of the target organs has also been illustrated. Here we focus on some of the mechanisms by which these apparently static reflex circuits can be made quite plastic as a consequence of the action of modulatory inputs from other central nervous system sources. A large body of evidence has shown that the neuronal elements that constitute these brain stem circuits have nonuniform properties and function differently according to status of their target organs and the level of activity in critical modulatory inputs. We propose that DVC circuits undergo a certain amount of short-term plasticity that allows the brain stem neuronal elements to act in harmony with neural systems that control behavioral and physiological homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G180-G187
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Volume284
Issue number2 47-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)

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