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Lecture 31/32: Autonomic Pathways

Lecture 31/32: Autonomic Pathways

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Published by: NYUCD17 on Mar 03, 2014
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Transcribed by Jacqueline Heath February 25, 2014
Autonomic Pathways
 by Dr. Schiff
 Note: this lecture did not have slides, so I separated the lecture as best as I could by themes.
 This transcrition the property of NYUCD 2017 and is intended solely for the purposes of  NYUCD students and faculty. Any unauthorized use of this transcription is an infringement of copyright law.
 just kidding
I want to avoid the word system, at least in regards to the parasympathetic pathways. There are two divisions of autonomic pathways that are generally designated sympathetic and parasympathetic. Sympathetic is more or less a system in that you tend to activate or
increase its activity in times of stress. It’s a stress response set of pat
hways. And when
you have a stress and you’re walking on
 street and you turn on second avenue, and a
tiger comes around the corner and it’s walking toward you with a hungry look on its face, you consider this a stressful situation. And you’re basical
ly left with, classically, the two alternatives of either fight or flight
, and in most situations, you’d
 probably lose either one you try. So the various sympathetic pathways will all turn on, or at least most of them will turn on and there will be generalized activation of sympathetic pathways, so you can refer to the sympathetic pathways as forming a system. Parasympathetic pathways do not form a system. Parasympathetic pathways are collection of pathways of control or regulation of different types of bodily function that really have very little to do with one another and there are very few situations in which you would want to active multiple parasympathetic pathways or increase the activity or decrease the activity of a whole bunch of parasympathetic pathways at the same time. So
they don’t really form a system. As a rough example. Try to think of a situation.
Suppose you activate all parasympathetic pathways, what would be the situation appropriate to activate, say, increase intestinal motility, a constriction of pupil diameter in your eyes focusing near vision, secreting nasal mucous, and secreting saliva and having an erection of your genitals. Under what condition would all of these be appropriate simultaneously? It will take some imagination anyway. The point is these are independent pathways that regulate your bronchial tone, smooth muscle tone and all sorts
of things that are going on and don’t really co
mmit with each other the only reason they tend to be lumped together is the pathways themselves are physiologically similar. They have the same sorts of neurons starting off from the same sorts of origins and they release the same neurotransmitters and things like that.
So let’s just take
 a look at first some parasympathetic pathways and then some
sympathetic pathways and then I’ll put the two together and discuss who they
each, we will run down a list of topics of parts of the body and how they affect them. And, by the way, one of the things that is going to come out of these two hours is a review of ionotropic and metabotropic synapses and second messengers because there are a lot of different receptors in the synapses involved in autonomic pathways and these are going to all be reviewed as well.
So let’s take a look at parasympathetic pathways. Can you read it? It’s comparable to my normal blackboard scribble. Parasympathetic pathways…
what you have in any of the autonomic pathways (S and PS) is a two neuron pathway from either
SC or brainstem going to any organ or tissue you’re regulating
. So there is always a first neuron. Here is a cell body and an axon. And synapses onto a second neuron. And then this synapses onto whatever the target is. And one of the things you notice is that the first neuron is generally long and goes most of the way to the tissue that is being regulated. And the second one tends to be short, sometimes
 very short. And in many cases, the synapses between the first and second neurons are collected together in a number of  peripheral parasympathetic
ganglia. That’s a ganglion. And so the first neuron is referred
to as preganglionic and the second is postganglionic. And the target tissue can be some of the intrinsic muscle of the eye, can be smooth muscle of the bronchi, could be the heart, any number
of glands where the pathways regulate secretion, and so on. And what you’ve got here is a transmitter is released from the preganglionic neuron, and that’s always in
 both sympathetic and PS. Acetylcholine. And there are receptors on the postganglionic neuron for acetylcholine where it the acetylcholine transmission produces a very large EPSP, which is either liminal or close to liminal but you get convergence of numerous  preganglionic neurons going to postganglionic neurons, so you can get summation of not quite liminal EPSPs to get you over the threshold for an action potential. And the  postganglionic neuron, which tends to be relatively short, also releases acetylcholine. But
I’ll put a little
asterisk there, because we will get back to that. What my plan is, by the way, is since the course of this lecture, which is being given to both sections at once, so you should be twice as ashamed at the number of empty seats here, well, not you, but the inhabitants of the empty seats should be ashamed. What m
y plan is to scan these sheets of paper that I’m writing on, along with the lecture outlines. So those of you who are busy taking photographs don’t really have to right
now. But if you want to, go right ahead. When I get back to the blackboard on Thursday, you can pull out your phones again.
Um, by the way if you haven’t seen, this device is called an
. I don’t know why. It’s neither red nor furry. And uh as you can see, as I move my hand, it’s a slow
scan camera. Okay. The acetylcholine that is released from here acts on receptors on the  postganglionic neuron to produce those EPSPs, and so
 get back to synaptic transmission with Acetylcholine as a transmitter. Here, there are a number of receptors that can exist on a postsynaptic cell with acetylcholine
as a transmitter. One place you’ve
seen already is the neuromuscular synapse where I discussed the synapse of a motor neuron onto a skeletal muscle fiber. And there, the acetylcholine
acts on what’s called a nicotinic receptor. So it’s nicotinic. We will just use an N and the reason it’s called that is
that it responds by opening sodium channels and when acetylcholine binds to it, but it has
the same response when nicotine binds to it. But as I have said before in lecture, if you’re
a reasonably
intelligent person, which you should be to be here, um you shouldn’t have
any nicotine in your body. So, uh but it’s called nicotinic because in addition to
acetylcholine, it responds to nicotine. Here, you also have the receptors on the postganglionic cell, are classified as nicotinic. But these are not exactly the same as these. These are on the muscle. So these are considered nicotinic muscle receptors, and these are referred to as nicotinic ganglionic, because they respond to acetylcholine and nic
otine and another type that’s
found on autonomic ganglia. Their responses, their reactions are very similar in terms of opening sodium permeability channels, but they differ in that there are specific chemicals that will block this one, and specific chemicals and channels that will block this one and
 prevent transmission. Uh the classic one, well, I’m not even going to go into it. Ah I’ll
mention it. The classic one that blocks the muscle receptor is curare which is used by south American hunters to poison their spears, the tips of the spears because you throw the spear, and wound the animal, they get curare in their system and gradually it blocks he receptors on his muscle and he ends up paralyzed and he falls down. So all you have to do is chase after hi
m until he falls down. Which may take an hour or two. It’s not
efficient hunting, but it works. And yes, curare is not poisonous when taken orally.
Otherwise they couldn’t eat the animals that they kill that way.
 Uh these receptors are blocked by atropine, among other things. And there you
have it. Just the atropine doesn’t affect these, and curare doesn’t affect these. That was
found out long ago. So the whole idea that there are multiple receptor types was discovered early on for the same transmitter. Acetylcholine that is released here from the  postganglionic neuron onto the target cell, encounters different types of receptors. These are referred to as muscarinic. That name derives from muscaria, which is a poisonous mushroom that was popular in the renaissance, the borhsues? Knew all about the  poisonous mushrooms
. In those days you didn’t really want to be a house guest of someone you didn’t quite trust. And even so, you bring along a few peasants to be tasters, and if they didn’t die, you were willing
 to eat the food. Which is why expert  poisoners would come up with things that would kill 24-48 hours later. Anyway. These are referred to as muscarinic receptors, but even among muscarinic
receptors there are many types. And sometimes they are designated with capital M’s, sometimes with lower case M’s, and depending on how you get the types, there are at
least 3, possibly 5 or 6 classes of muscarinic receptors. Functionally there are M1, M2, and M3, possibly more. If you on the other hand, do what is now done, you isolate the gene that produces the receptor, and analyze the DNA sequence and from the DNA sequence get the amino acid sequence that makes this receptor, then you find that there are at least five receptors, designated with lower case m1, m2, m3 and so on, and 5. In terms of physiological function we are going to stick with these three categories. They differ according to where they are found and on what their postsynaptic effects are. The M1 receptors are found here as well. So these postganglionic neuron have on their cell bodies or on the dendrites, in addition to nicotinic ganglionic receptors, they have M1 receptors. And these M1 receptors are primarily metabotropic receptors. But through their metabotropic pathway, they have ultimately an ionotropic effect. Okay.

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