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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2000 Nov;279(5):R1517-24.

Neural control of the kidney: functionally specific renal sympathetic nerve fibers.

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  • 1Departments of Internal Medicine and Physiology, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.


The sympathetic nervous system provides differentiated regulation of the functions of various organs. This differentiated regulation occurs via mechanisms that operate at multiple sites within the classic reflex arc: peripherally at the level of afferent input stimuli to various reflex pathways, centrally at the level of interconnections between various central neuron pools, and peripherally at the level of efferent fibers targeted to various effectors within the organ. In the kidney, increased renal sympathetic nerve activity regulates the functions of the intrarenal effectors: the tubules, the blood vessels, and the juxtaglomerular granular cells. This enables a physiologically appropriate coordination between the circulatory, filtration, reabsorptive, excretory, and renin secretory contributions to overall renal function. Anatomically, each of these effectors has a dual pattern of innervation consisting of a specific and selective innervation by unmyelinated slowly conducting C-type renal sympathetic nerve fibers in addition to an innervation that is shared among all the effectors. This arrangement permits the maximum flexibility in the coordination of physiologically appropriate responses of the tubules, the blood vessels, and the juxtaglomerular granular cells to a variety of homeostatic requirements.

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