The enteric nervous system is a subdivision of the autonomic nervous system that directly controls the gastrointestinal system in vertebrates.
The nervous system exerts a profound influence on all digestive processes, namely motility, ion transport associated with secretion and absorption, and gastrointestinal blood flow. Some of this control emanates from connections between the digestive system and central nervous system, but just as importantly, the digestive system is endowed with its own, local nervous system referred to as the enteric or intrinsic nervous system.
The magnitude and complexity of the enteric nervous system is immense – it contains as many neurons as the spinal cord. The enteric nervous system, along with the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, constitute the autonomic nervous system.
The principal components of the enteric nervous system are two networks or plexuses of neurons, both of which are embedded in the wall of the digestive tract and extend…
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