How does the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system help maintain homeostasis?

Homeostasis, remember, is a word that Walter Cannon coined, and what does the autonomic nervous system have to do with homeostasis?  In general, there are two ways you can think of things sort of staying the same.  One way is by an integrative physiology point of view. You’ve got a homeostat, like a thermostat for instance, and it’s comparing the information about what’s going on with some set point for responding and when there’s a discrepancy then the effector gets turned on and the regulated variable is controlled.  There’s a lot of teleology involved here – that means, teleology basically is a school of philosophy based on the ends, the goals.  What is the goal of a thermostat?  The goal of a thermostat is to keep your temperature.  Well who says?  The inside the body no one has ever found evidence for a comparator, including a thermostat, even though of course your temperature is very closely regulated.  The alternative view is a systems biological point of view which in essence says, you know why your temperature is held in constant?  Because that’s the way it is.  That’s the way it is.  All the organisms that didn’t do this died out in evolution. And don’t give me this story about the purpose of a particular reflex or whatever.  The reflex is there because it’s there.  So that is the systems biology point of view.

But I am going to be going with the much more easy to understand integrative physiological point of view.  The reason that a monitored variable is held, the level is held in check, is because of negative feedback.  There’s a homeostat of some sort, so this is a classic picture of the way a blood pressure’s supposed to be regulated.  There is a barostatic system.  When the blood pressure goes up, there are these receptors that are stretched because of the increase in blood pressure that causes a nerve traffic to go to some barostat in the brainstem (you remember the brainstem is the chewy chocolate center of the Tootsie Roll Pop) and then there’s outflow, autonomic outflow.  When the blood pressure goes up, the heart rate goes down, and when the blood pressure goes up, the sympathetic nervous system is turned off and so the blood pressure tends to come back down.  So that’s a kind of a simple but often sufficient explanation of a barostatic system.

Now in humans a substantial number of the baroreceptors, which are stressed receptors, are in the wall of the carotid sinus…I’m sorry, the wall of the carotid artery, where the carotid artery splits into the internal and external carotid.  Right there is carotid sinus. And there are a sort of hybrid cells that are sensitive to stretch and when stimulated, when they’re stretched, there’s an increase in afferent traffic to the brain by the carotid sinus nerve.

If you’ve ever watched professional wresting you may have come across the sleeper hold where somebody quickly goes around the opponent’s back and sort of massages this part of the person’s neck, doesn’t choke him, that would be a disqualification, but just sort of massages.  And then the person falls asleep, just faints and collapses to the tarp, and that’s the sleeper hold.  When I was a kid, I remember there was a professional wrestler named Argentina Apollo I think, I think that was the guy, who used the sleeper hold a lot.  I’m not sure that professional wrestling is really like a competitive sport, I’m not sure, but I do like the idea of the sleeper hold, because it tells you that when you mechanically distort the carotid sinus, the baroreceptors there kind of think that the blood pressure’s gone up and so causes that reflex to occur where vagal outflow goes up, sympathetic outflow goes down, and the blood pressure goes down and then the person loses consciousness.

I think of the baroreflex, or the barostat, as kind of metaphor.  This is the way it actually looks in the brainstem and higher up in the central nervous system.  There’re all sorts of the interactions between all sorts of centers, but conceptually you have a barostat.  A barostat doesn’t exist, it’s a metaphor, but I think it’s very handy because this is tough to understand.

Know about the autonomic nervous system and its functions

How does the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system help maintain homeostasis?

Know about the autonomic nervous system and its functions

The autonomic nervous system consists of two major divisions: the sympathetic nervous...

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The autonomic nervous system has two functions: to conserve the body’s energy and to respond quickly to stress. These functions are each handled by a separate branch of the autonomic system.

Conditions that stress the body are handled by the sympathetic nervous system. It responds by preparing your body for action. This is sometimes called “fight or flight.” For example, when you are stressed or scared, your heart pumps harder. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase. You breathe faster.
When the stress or fear passes, the parasympathetic nervous system brings the body back to normal conditions. Your heart rate slows. Your blood pressure decreases. Your breathing returns to normal.

Working together, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems help the body maintain a steady state. This steady state is called homeostasis.

How does sympathetic and parasympathetic maintain homeostasis?

The ANS regulates the internal organs to maintain homeostasis or to prepare the body for action. The sympathetic branch of the ANS is responsible for stimulating the fight or flight response. The parasympathetic branch has the opposite effect and helps regulate the body at rest.

How does the parasympathetic nervous system maintain homeostasis?

Parasynpathetic nervous system: The system maintains the body in the resting state and promotes the digestion process. The system will cause the heart rate and other body responses to slow down and increase saliva release. Therefore, the contrasting activities of these systems help maintain the body's homeostasis.

How does the nervous system help maintain homeostasis?

The nervous system maintains homeostasis by controlling and regulating the other parts of the body. A deviation from a normal set point acts as a stimulus to a receptor, which sends nerve impulses to a regulating center in the brain.

Does the parasympathetic nervous system restore homeostasis?

The Parasympathetic Nervous System It functions to restore homeostasis and is active when the body is at rest and recuperating.