Autonomic neural control of the airways

Handb Clin Neurol. 2013:117:215-28. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-53491-0.00018-3.


The airways and lungs are innervated by both sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves. Cholinergic parasympathetic innervation is well conserved in the airways while the distribution of noncholinergic parasympathetic and adrenergic sympathetic nerves varies considerably amongst species. Autonomic nerve function is regulated primarily through reflexes initiated upon bronchopulmonary vagal afferent nerves. Central regulation of autonomic tone is poorly described but some key elements have been defined.

Keywords: noncholinergic; nucleus Ambiguus; parasympathetic; sympathetic; vagal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Lung / innervation
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / physiology*
  • Respiratory Center / physiology*