Autonomic and endocrine control of cardiovascular function

World J Cardiol. 2015 Apr 26;7(4):204-14. doi: 10.4330/wjc.v7.i4.204.


The function of the heart is to contract and pump oxygenated blood to the body and deoxygenated blood to the lungs. To achieve this goal, a normal human heart must beat regularly and continuously for one's entire life. Heartbeats originate from the rhythmic pacing discharge from the sinoatrial (SA) node within the heart itself. In the absence of extrinsic neural or hormonal influences, the SA node pacing rate would be about 100 beats per minute. Heart rate and cardiac output, however, must vary in response to the needs of the body's cells for oxygen and nutrients under varying conditions. In order to respond rapidly to the changing requirements of the body's tissues, the heart rate and contractility are regulated by the nervous system, hormones, and other factors. Here we review how the cardiovascular system is controlled and influenced by not only a unique intrinsic system, but is also heavily influenced by the autonomic nervous system as well as the endocrine system.

Keywords: Autonomic nervous system; Cardiovascular function; Endocrine system; Heart; Regulation.

Publication types

  • Review