2013, Number 5
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ABSTRACTPractically all organs of the respiratory system are under the control of the autonomic nervous system. Double vegetative innervation, sympathetic and parasympathetic, contributes to the regulation of airway smooth muscle tone, and modulates secretion from the submucosal glands. Nevertheless, more than 20 years ago, the classical view of excitatory cholinergic and inhibitory adrenergic innervation changed considerably when the existence was proved of the non-adrenergic non-cholinergic system (NANC), which is able to produce both effects. Several purines and peptides have been postulated as neurotransmitters of this system, and some of them coexist with the acetylcholine or norepinephrine; for example, vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) on cholinergic nerves and neuropeptide Y in the adrenergic nerves. The aim of this paper is to describe the anatomo-physiological aspects of the airways’ autonomic innervation and the possible implication of a neural mechanism that contributes in the development of the symptomatology in respiratory diseases.
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