Cardiac and other visceral afferents

Han Jun Wang, Joseph Hadaya, Jeffrey L. Ardell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Visceral afferents are responsible for both conscious and unconscious sensory transduction and are integral to autonomic reflexes at local, spinal, and central levels. The majority of afferent cell bodies are located in the nodose ganglia (vagal) or dorsal root ganglia (spinal afferents) and robustly innervate the heart, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract. These sensory afferents are physiologically involved in the regulation of blood pressure, cardiac mechanical and electrophysiological activity, breathing patterns, and gut motility, among others. Sympathetic activation has been implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple cardiovascular disorders, and is, in part, related to depressed sympatho-inhibitory reflexes at the level of the heart. Moreover, afferent activation at the level of the kidneys and renal vasculature has also been implicated in the pathogenesis of hypertension and heart failure. Given the role of neurohormonal activation and neurogenic substrates in cardiovascular disease, therapies targeting abnormal function of afferents remain an area of intensive research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPrimer on the Autonomic Nervous System, Fourth Edition
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780323854924
ISBN (Print)9780323854931
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Autonomic reflexes
  • Baroreflex
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chemoreceptors
  • Heart failure
  • Skeletal muscle afferents
  • Spinal afferents
  • Vagal afferents
  • Visceral afferents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Neuroscience


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