Baroreceptor reflex pathways and neurotransmitters: 10 years on

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The central nervous system plays a critical role in the management of blood flow to the tissues and its return to the heart and lungs. This is achieved by a complex interplay of neural efferent pathways, humoral mechanisms and afferent pathways. In this review, we focus on recent progress (within the past 10 years) that has been made in the sympathetic control of arterial blood pressure with a special emphasis on the role of baroreceptor mechanisms and central neurotransmitters. In particular, we focus on new features since 1991, such as neurotransmission in the nucleus tractus solitarius, the role of neurons in the most caudal part of the ventrolateral medulla oblongata and the increasing understanding of the exquisite control of different sympathetic pathways by different neurotransmitter systems.

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