UAMS Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences - Nerves of the Abdomen

Gross Anatomy


Nerves of the Abdomen - Listed Alphabetically

Nerve Source Branches Motor Sensory Notes
aorticorenal ganglion preganglionic sympathetic via the lesser thoracic splanchnic n. brs. to the renal plexus vascular smooth muscle of the brs. of the renal aa. pain from the kidney, suprarenal gland, upper ureter a sympathetic ganglion; located above or near the origin of the renal a. from the abdominal aorta
celiac ganglion preganglionic sympathetic axons arrive via the greater thoracic splanchnic n. postganglionic sympathetic axons distribute via the celiac plexus along brs. of the celiac trunk vascular smooth muscle of the brs. of the celiac trunk pain from the stomach, liver & biliary system, spleen, upper half of the duodenum & pancreas a sympathetic ganglion; usually 2 celiac ganglia are located on the abdominal aorta at the origin of the celiac trunk; brs. of the vagal trunks pass through the celiac ganglion without synapsing
collateral ganglia splanchnic nn. (thoracic, lumbar) plexuses to abdominal & pelvic viscera smooth muscle in blood vessels supplying the abdominopelvic viscera pain from the abdominopelvic viscera sympathetic ganglia; also known as: preaortic ganglia which include: celiac, aorticorenal, superior & inferior mesenteric; brs. of the vagal trunks pass through but do not synapse in collateral ganglia
dorsal primary ramus first branch off of the dorsal side of the spinal nerve numerous to the deep back mm.; sympathetic innervation to the skin general sense (touch, pressure, pain, heat, cold, etc.) to the skin of the back a mixed nerve containing both motor and sensory fibers
dorsal root from the dorsal horn of the spinal cord to the spinal nerve none none general sense (touch, pressure, pain, heat, cold, etc.) dorsal root is entirely sensory in function; it is located dorsal to the denticulate ligament
dorsal root ganglion dorsal rootlets dorsal rootlets none one dermatome a sensory ganglion; located in the intervertebral foramen of the vertebral column on the dorsal root - one per spinal nerve; location of the cell bodies of somatic afferent (sensory) neurons
esophageal plexus right and left vagus (X) nn.; thoracic visceral brs. of the sympathetic trunk anterior and posterior vagal trunks preganglionic parasympathetic axons from the vagus n. supply smooth muscle and glands of the thoracic esophagus and abdominal gut and its derivatives proximal to the left colic flexure; postganglionic sympathetic axons from the thoracic visceral brs. supply vascular smooth muscle in the esophageal vessels vagus: GVA from the esophagus and abdominal gut proximal to the left colic flexure; thoracic visceral brs.carry pain from the esophagus during development of the gut, the stomach and esophagus rotate 90° to the right with the result that the left and right vagus nerves mix in the esophageal plexus and emerge as anterior and posterior vagal trunks
femoral n. lumbar plexus (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L2-L4) anterior femoral cutaneous brs., nn. to: sartorius m., rectus femoris m., vastus lateralis m., vastus intermedius m., vastus medialis m., pectineus m. sartorius, rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, vastus medialis, pectineus skin of anterior thigh passes under inguinal ligament lateral to femoral a.
femoral cutaneous, lateral lumbar plexus (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L2-L3) anterior & posterior brs. sympathetic motor innervation to skin skin of the lateral thigh cutaneous nn. carry postganglionic sympathetic axons to skin
ganglia, collateral splanchnic nn. (thoracic, lumbar) plexuses to abdominal & pelvic viscera smooth muscle in blood vessels supplying the abdominopelvic viscera pain from the abdominopelvic viscera sympathetic ganglia; also known as: preaortic ganglia which include: celiac, aorticorenal, superior & inferior mesenteric; brs. of the vagal trunks pass through but do not synapse in collateral ganglia
ganglia, myenteric preganglionic parasympathetic via anterior and posterior vagal trunks (gut proximal to the left colic flexure) and pelvic splanchnic nn. (gut distal to the left colic flexure) postganglionic parasympathetic via many short fibers smooth muscle of the gut wall none minute ganglia located within the myenteric plexus; parasympathetic terminal ganglia
ganglia, preaortic splanchnic nn. plexuses to abdominal and pelvic viscera vascular smooth muscle of vessels that supply abdominopelvic viscera pain from abdominopelvic viscera also known as: collateral ganglia which include the celiac ganglion, aorticorenal ganglion, superior mesenteric ganglion and inferior mesenteric ganglion; preganglionic parasympathetic axons of vagal trunk origin pass through the preaortic ganglia but do not synapse there
ganglia, submucosal of the gut preganglionic parasympathetic arrive via branches of the anterior and posterior vagal trunks (gut proximal to the left colic flexure) and pelvic splanchnic nn. (gut distal to the left colic flexure) postganglionic parasympathetic via many short fibers secretomotor to glands in the mucosa of the gut none terminal parasympathetic ganglia; parasympathetic terminal ganglia; also known as: Meissner's plexus
ganglia, sympathetic chain preganglionic sympathetic fibers arrive via white rami communicantes of ventral primary rami of spinal nerves T1-L2 postganglionic sympathetic fibers depart via gray rami communicantes to all spinal nn.; internal & external carotid nn.; cervical cardiac brs.; thoracic direct visceral brs.; greater, lesser & least thoracic splanchnic nn.; lumbar splanchnic nn.; sacral splanchnic nn. dilator pupillae, vascular smooth muscle, arrector pili muscles, sweat glands, suprarenal medulla, heart, lungs and gut pain from viscera located lateral to the vertebral bodies in the neck, thorax & abdominopelvic cavity; the ganglia plus their interconnecting fibers are also known as the sympathetic trunk; preganglionic cell bodies are located in the intermediolateral gray matter of spinal cord levels T1-L2
ganglion, celiac preganglionic sympathetic axons arrive via the greater thoracic splanchnic n. postganglionic sympathetic axons distribute via the celiac plexus along brs. of the celiac trunk vascular smooth muscle of the brs. of the celiac trunk pain from the stomach, liver & biliary system, spleen, upper half of the duodenum & pancreas a sympathetic ganglion; usually 2 celiac ganglia are located on the abdominal aorta at the origin of the celiac trunk; brs. of the vagal trunks pass through the celiac ganglion without synapsing
ganglion, dorsal root dorsal rootlets dorsal rootlets none one dermatome a sensory ganglion; located in the intervertebral foramen of the vertebral column on the dorsal root - one per spinal nerve; location of the cell bodies of somatic afferent (sensory) neurons
ganglion, inferior mesenteric preganglionic sympathetic axons from the intermesenteric plexus and the 2nd lumbar splanchnic n. contributes to the inferior mesenteric plexus; contributes to the superior hypogastric plexus vascular smooth muscle of brs. of the inferior mesenteric a. pain from descending colon and sigmoid colon; pain from upper rectum a sympathetic ganglion; located on the abdominal aorta at the origin of the inferior mesenteric a.; may be a series of small, indistinguishable ganglia rather than a single large one
ganglion, superior mesenteric preganglionic sympathetic axons from the celiac plexus contributes to the superior mesenteric and intermesenteric plexuses vascular smooth muscle of brs. of the superior mesenteric a. pain from the lower half of the pancreas and duodenum, jejunum, ileum, cecum, appendix, ascending colon and transverse colon a sympathetic ganglion; located on the abdominal aorta at the origin of the superior mesenteric a.
gray ramus communicans cell bodies located in the sympathetic chain ganglia none carries postganglionic sympathetic axons to the spinal nerve; spinal nerve will carry those axons peripherally to the skin, blood vessels, etc. none gray rami communicantes connect the sympathetic chain to spinal nerves at all vertebral levels
greater thoracic splanchnic n. neurons in the intermediolateral cell column of spinal cord levels T5-T9; the greater thoracic splanchnic nerve appears to arise by multiple contributions from the sympathetic trunk no named branches celiac ganglion; preganglionic fibers supply the adrenal medulla which releases epinephrine and norepinephrine into the blood pain from the abdominal viscera greater thoracic splanchnic n. passes through the crus of the respiratory diaphragm; postganglionic processes from the celiac ganglion spread down the aorta and distribute with its branches; they innervate the vascular smooth of these vessels and vascular smooth muscle of the organs supplied
hypogastric n. superior hypogastric plexus inferior hypogastric plexus supplies vascular smooth muscle of the pelvic viscera pain from the pelvic viscera paired; hypogastric n. lies inferior to the common iliac vessels; it contains postganglionic sympathetic axons
hypogastric plexus, inferior hypogastric nn. and sacral splanchnic nn. (postganglionic sympathetic axons); pelvic splanchnic nn. (preganglionic parasympathetic axons from the ventral primary rami of spinal nerves S2-S4) contributes branches to: uterine/vaginal plexus, vesical plexus, prostatic plexus sympathetic: supplies vascular smooth muscle of vessels supplying the pelvic viscera; parasympathetic: supplies smooth muscle of the pelvic viscera pain from the pelvic viscera; general visceral afferent from the pelvic viscera inferior hypogastric plexus lies between the pelvic viscera and the pelvic wall
hypogastric plexus, superior intermesenteric plexus and lumbar splanchnic nn. (postganglionic sympathetic axons) hypogastric nn. (right and left) vascular smooth muscle of the pelvic viscera (sympathetic) pain from the pelvic viscera; general visceral afferent from the pelvic viscera superior hypogastric plexus is the continuation of the intermesenteric plexus; it crosses the pelvic brim
iliohypogastric n. lumbar plexus (ventral primary ramus of spinal nerve L1) lateral and anterior cutaneous brs. muscles of the lower abdominal wall skin of the lower abdominal wall, upper hip and upper thigh iliohypogastric n. receives a contribution from T12 in approximately 50% of cases
ilioinguinal n. lumbar plexus (ventral primary ramus of spinal nerve L1) anterior cutaneous br. (also known as: anterior labial/scrotal n.) muscles of the lower abdominal wall skin of the lower abdominal wall and anterior scrotum/labium majus ilioinguinal n. courses through the inguinal canal and superficial inguinal ring
inferior mesenteric ganglion preganglionic sympathetic axons from the intermesenteric plexus and the 2nd lumbar splanchnic n. contributes to the inferior mesenteric plexus; contributes to the superior hypogastric plexus vascular smooth muscle of brs. of the inferior mesenteric a. pain from descending colon and sigmoid colon; pain from upper rectum a sympathetic ganglion; located on the abdominal aorta at the origin of the inferior mesenteric a.; may be a series of small, indistinguishable ganglia rather than a single large one
inferior mesenteric plexus intermesenteric plexus multiple unnamed nn. course along the branches of the inferior mesenteric a. sympathetic: smooth muscle of the vessels supplying the descending colon, sigmoid colon and rectum pain from the descending colon, sigmoid colon and rectum inferior mesenteric plexus contains no vagal parasympathetic fibers; pelvic splanchnic n. axons join the most distal nn. of the plexus near gut wall
inferior rectal n. pudendal n. no named branches external anal sphincter skin of the anus inferior rectal nerve is one of the first branches of the pudendal n.
intercostal n. ventral primary rami of spinal nerves T1-T11 lateral & anterior cutaneous brs. intercostal muscles; abdominal wall muscles (via T7-T11); muscles of the forearm and hand (via T1) skin of the chest and abdomen anterolaterally; skin of the medial side of the upper limb (via T1-T2) intercostal n.travels below the posterior intercostal a. in the costal groove
intermesenteric plexus lumbar splanchnic nn. 1 and 2 renal, testicular (or ovarian) and ureteric brs. sympathetic: smooth muscle of vessels supplying the gut distal to the left colic flexure pain from the descending colon, sigmoid colon and rectum intermesenteric plexus is continuous with the superior mesenteric plexus; it continues inferiorly as the inferior mesenteric plexus and superior hypogastric plexus; intermesenteric plexus does not carry vagal parasympathetic fibers; located anterior to the abdominal aorta between the superior and inferior mesenteric aa.
least thoracic splanchnic n. neurons in the intermediolateral cell column of spinal cord level T12 no named branches renal plexus pain from the kidney and suprarenal gland least thoracic splanchnic n.pass through the crus of the diaphragm; it synapses in minute ganglia located in the renal plexus
lesser thoracic splanchnic n. neurons in the intermediolateral cell column of spinal cord levels T10-T11; the lesser thoracic splanchnic nerve appears to arise by multiple contributions from the sympathetic trunk no named branches aorticorenal ganglion; pain from the kidney and suprarenal gland lesser thoracic splanchnic n. passes through the crus of the respiratory diaphragm; postganglionic processes from the ganglion supply vascular smooth muscle of branches of the renal a. and suprarenal aa.; kidney and suprarenal gland
lumbar n. ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L1-L5 contributes to the formation of the lumbar and sacral plexuses numerous: see lumbar and sacral plexuses numerous: see lumbar and sacral plexuses lumbar nn. enter into the formation of the lumbar and sacral plexuses and do not give branches directly to muscles or skin
lumbar plexus ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L1-L4 branches of the lumbar plexus: iliohypogastric n., ilioinguinal n., genitofemoral n., lateral femoral cutaneous n., femoral n., obturator n., lumbosacral trunk (considered to be part of sacral plexus), brs. to the psoas major and minor mm., branches to the quadratus lumborum m. muscles of the lower abdominal wall; cremaster m., psoas major and minor mm., quadratus lumborum m., iliacus m.; muscles of the anterior and medial thigh and hip skin of the lower abdominal wall, skin of the anterior scrotum/labium majus, skin of the anterior and medial thigh and lateral hip lumbar plexus is noted for its variable branching pattern of nerves that supply the abdominal wall
lumbar splanchnic nn. lumbar sympathetic ganglia L1-L4 no named branches smooth muscle of vessels that supply the abdominal and pelvic viscera pain from abdominal and pelvic viscera sympathetic nerves; there are four of these on each side; lumbar splanchnic nn. contribute to preaortic abdominal plexuses (celiac, superior mesenteric, intermesenteric, superior hypogastric)
lumbosacral plexus ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L4-S4 branches of the lumbosacral plexus: iliohypogastric n., ilioinguinal n., genitofemoral n., lateral femoral cutaneous n., femoral n., obturator n., lumbosacral trunk (considered to be part of sacral plexus), brs. to the psoas major and minor mm., branches to the quadratus lumborum m., superior & inferior gluteal nn., n. to the obturator internus m., n. to the quadratus femoris m., sciatic n., n. to the piriformis m., posterior femoral cutaneous n., pudendal n., n. to the pelvic diaphragm, pelvic splanchnic nn. muscles of the lower abdominal wall; cremaster m., psoas major and minor mm., quadratus lumborum m., iliacus m.; muscles of the anterior and medial thigh and hip, muscles of the pelvic & urogenital diaphragm, posterior hip, posterior thigh, leg and foot skin of the lower abdominal wall, skin of the anterior scrotum/labium majus, skin of the anterior and medial thigh and lateral hip' skin of the perineum, posterior thigh, leg and foot also known as: lumbar & sacral plexuses
lumbosacral trunk part of the ventral primary ramus of L4 united with the ventral primary ramus of L5 no named branches; it contributes to the formation of the sacral plexus muscles of the hip and posterior thigh see sacral plexus the lumbosacral trunk is not considered to be part of the lumbar plexus
mesenteric ganglion, inferior preganglionic sympathetic axons from the intermesenteric plexus and the 2nd lumbar splanchnic n. contributes to the inferior mesenteric plexus; contributes to the superior hypogastric plexus vascular smooth muscle of brs. of the inferior mesenteric a. pain from descending colon and sigmoid colon; pain from upper rectum a sympathetic ganglion; located on the abdominal aorta at the origin of the inferior mesenteric a.; may be a series of small, indistinguishable ganglia rather than a single large one
mesenteric ganglion, superior preganglionic sympathetic axons from the celiac plexus contributes to the superior mesenteric and intermesenteric plexuses vascular smooth muscle of brs. of the superior mesenteric a. pain from the lower half of the pancreas and duodenum, jejunum, ileum, cecum, appendix, ascending colon and transverse colon a sympathetic ganglion; located on the abdominal aorta at the origin of the superior mesenteric a.
mesenteric plexus, inferior intermesenteric plexus multiple unnamed nn. course along the branches of the inferior mesenteric a. sympathetic: smooth muscle of the vessels supplying the descending colon, sigmoid colon and rectum pain from the descending colon, sigmoid colon and rectum inferior mesenteric plexus contains no vagal parasympathetic fibers; pelvic splanchnic n. axons join the most distal nn. of the plexus near gut wall
mesenteric plexus, superior celiac plexus, superior mesenteric ganglion multiple unnamed nn. course along the branches of the superior mesenteric a. sympathetic: smooth muscle of vessels supplying the lower pancreas, lower duodenum, jejunum, ileum, cecum, ascending colon and most of the transverse colon; parasympathetic (vagus): smooth muscle in the gut wall of same distribution area pain & GVA of the parts of the gut named at left superior mesenteric plexus contains a mixture of vagal (preganglionic parasympathetic) axons and postganglionic sympathetic axons
myenteric ganglia preganglionic parasympathetic via anterior and posterior vagal trunks (gut proximal to the left colic flexure) and pelvic splanchnic nn. (gut distal to the left colic flexure) postganglionic parasympathetic via many short fibers smooth muscle of the gut wall none minute ganglia located within the myenteric plexus; parasympathetic terminal ganglia
myenteric plexus preganglionic parasympathetic via anterior and posterior vagal trunks (gut proximal to the left colic flexure) and pelvic splanchnic nn. (gut distal to the left colic flexure) postganglionic parasympathetic via many short fibers smooth muscle of the gut wall none parasympathetic terminal ganglia are located here; also known as: Auerbach's plexus
pelvic splanchnic n. ventral primary rami of spinal nerves S2-S4 (cell bodies are located in the lateral horn gray of the sacral spinal cord) unnamed branches contribute to the pelvic plexus (inferior hypogastric) plexus smooth muscle and glands of the gut distal to the left colic flexure; smooth muscle and glands of all pelvic viscera none parasympathetic nerves; these contain preganglionic parasympathetic axons
plexus, esophageal right and left vagus (X) nn.; thoracic visceral brs. of the sympathetic trunk anterior and posterior vagal trunks preganglionic parasympathetic axons from the vagus n. supply smooth muscle and glands of the thoracic esophagus and abdominal gut and its derivatives proximal to the left colic flexure; postganglionic sympathetic axons from the thoracic visceral brs. supply vascular smooth muscle in the esophageal vessels vagus: GVA from the esophagus and abdominal gut proximal to the left colic flexure; thoracic visceral brs.carry pain from the esophagus during development of the gut, the stomach and esophagus rotate 90° to the right with the result that the left and right vagus nerves mix in the esophageal plexus and emerge as anterior and posterior vagal trunks
plexus, inferior hypogastric hypogastric nn. and sacral splanchnic nn. (postganglionic sympathetic axons); pelvic splanchnic nn. (preganglionic parasympathetic axons from the ventral primary rami of spinal nerves S2-S4) contributes branches to: uterine/vaginal plexus, vesical plexus, prostatic plexus sympathetic: supplies vascular smooth muscle of vessels supplying the pelvic viscera; parasympathetic: supplies smooth muscle of the pelvic viscera pain from the pelvic viscera; general visceral afferent from the pelvic viscera inferior hypogastric plexus lies between the pelvic viscera and the pelvic wall
plexus, inferior mesenteric intermesenteric plexus multiple unnamed nn. course along the branches of the inferior mesenteric a. sympathetic: smooth muscle of the vessels supplying the descending colon, sigmoid colon and rectum pain from the descending colon, sigmoid colon and rectum inferior mesenteric plexus contains no vagal parasympathetic fibers; pelvic splanchnic n. axons join the most distal nn. of the plexus near gut wall
plexus, intermesenteric lumbar splanchnic nn. 1 and 2 renal, testicular (or ovarian) and ureteric brs. sympathetic: smooth muscle of vessels supplying the gut distal to the left colic flexure pain from the descending colon, sigmoid colon and rectum intermesenteric plexus is continuous with the superior mesenteric plexus; it continues inferiorly as the inferior mesenteric plexus and superior hypogastric plexus; intermesenteric plexus does not carry vagal parasympathetic fibers; located anterior to the abdominal aorta between the superior and inferior mesenteric aa.
plexus, lumbar ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L1-L4 branches of the lumbar plexus: iliohypogastric n., ilioinguinal n., genitofemoral n., lateral femoral cutaneous n., femoral n., obturator n., lumbosacral trunk (considered to be part of sacral plexus), brs. to the psoas major and minor mm., branches to the quadratus lumborum m. muscles of the lower abdominal wall; cremaster m., psoas major and minor mm., quadratus lumborum m., iliacus m.; muscles of the anterior and medial thigh and hip skin of the lower abdominal wall, skin of the anterior scrotum/labium majus, skin of the anterior and medial thigh and lateral hip lumbar plexus is noted for its variable branching pattern of nerves that supply the abdominal wall
plexus, lumbosacral ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L4-S4 branches of the lumbosacral plexus: iliohypogastric n., ilioinguinal n., genitofemoral n., lateral femoral cutaneous n., femoral n., obturator n., lumbosacral trunk (considered to be part of sacral plexus), brs. to the psoas major and minor mm., branches to the quadratus lumborum m., superior & inferior gluteal nn., n. to the obturator internus m., n. to the quadratus femoris m., sciatic n., n. to the piriformis m., posterior femoral cutaneous n., pudendal n., n. to the pelvic diaphragm, pelvic splanchnic nn. muscles of the lower abdominal wall; cremaster m., psoas major and minor mm., quadratus lumborum m., iliacus m.; muscles of the anterior and medial thigh and hip, muscles of the pelvic & urogenital diaphragm, posterior hip, posterior thigh, leg and foot skin of the lower abdominal wall, skin of the anterior scrotum/labium majus, skin of the anterior and medial thigh and lateral hip' skin of the perineum, posterior thigh, leg and foot also known as: lumbar & sacral plexuses
plexus, myenteric preganglionic parasympathetic via anterior and posterior vagal trunks (gut proximal to the left colic flexure) and pelvic splanchnic nn. (gut distal to the left colic flexure) postganglionic parasympathetic via many short fibers smooth muscle of the gut wall none parasympathetic terminal ganglia are located here; also known as: Auerbach's plexus
plexus, rectal inferior hypogastric (pelvic) plexus, posterior part no named branches sympathetic: vascular smooth muscle of the pelvic viscera, especially the rectum; parasympathetic: smooth muscle and glands of the pelvic viscera, especially the rectum pain and general sensation from the rectum rectal plexus is continuous with the vesical plexus in the male, uterovaginal plexus in the female
plexus, renal intermesenteric plexus, aorticorenal ganglion, least thoracic splanchnic n. unnamed branches course along the renal vessels sympathetic: smooth muscle of the blood vessels supplying the kidney, renal pelvis and upper ureter; parasympathetic: smooth muscle of the renal pelvis and upper ureter pain from the kidney, renal pelvis and upper ureter renal plexus contains postganglionic sympathetic axons and preganglionic parasympathetic axons (parasympathetic axons are of vagal origin)
plexus, superior hypogastric intermesenteric plexus and lumbar splanchnic nn. (postganglionic sympathetic axons) hypogastric nn. (right and left) vascular smooth muscle of the pelvic viscera (sympathetic) pain from the pelvic viscera; general visceral afferent from the pelvic viscera superior hypogastric plexus is the continuation of the intermesenteric plexus; it crosses the pelvic brim
plexus, superior mesenteric celiac plexus, superior mesenteric ganglion multiple unnamed nn. course along the branches of the superior mesenteric a. sympathetic: smooth muscle of vessels supplying the lower pancreas, lower duodenum, jejunum, ileum, cecum, ascending colon and most of the transverse colon; parasympathetic (vagus): smooth muscle in the gut wall of same distribution area pain & GVA of the parts of the gut named at left superior mesenteric plexus contains a mixture of vagal (preganglionic parasympathetic) axons and postganglionic sympathetic axons
preaortic ganglia splanchnic nn. plexuses to abdominal and pelvic viscera vascular smooth muscle of vessels that supply abdominopelvic viscera pain from abdominopelvic viscera also known as: collateral ganglia which include the celiac ganglion, aorticorenal ganglion, superior mesenteric ganglion and inferior mesenteric ganglion; preganglionic parasympathetic axons of vagal trunk origin pass through the preaortic ganglia but do not synapse there
ramus communicans, gray cell bodies located in the sympathetic chain ganglia none carries postganglionic sympathetic axons to the spinal nerve; spinal nerve will carry those axons peripherally to the skin, blood vessels, etc. none gray rami communicantes connect the sympathetic chain to spinal nerves at all vertebral levels
ramus communicans, white cell bodies located in the lateral horn gray matter of spinal cord levels T1-L2; none axons contained within white rami communicantes will synapse on postganglionic cell bodies that will ultimately innervate the skin, viscera, glands, blood vessels, etc. pain from viscera is carried back to the spinal cord through the white ramus communicans white rami communicantes connect the sympathetic chain to spinal nerves at vertebral levels T1-L2; carries preganglionic sympathetic axons
ramus, dorsal primary first branch off of the dorsal side of the spinal nerve numerous to the deep back mm.; sympathetic innervation to the skin general sense (touch, pressure, pain, heat, cold, etc.) to the skin of the back a mixed nerve containing both motor and sensory fibers
ramus, ventral primary first branch off of the ventral side of the spinal nerve numerous to skeletal mm. of the neck, trunk and extremities; sympathetic innervation to the skin general sense (touch, pressure, pain, heat, cold, etc.) to the skin of the trunk (except the back) and extremities; visceral pain via the white rami of the sympathetic nervous system (T1-L2) a mixed nerve containing both motor and sensory fibers
rectal plexus inferior hypogastric (pelvic) plexus, posterior part no named branches sympathetic: vascular smooth muscle of the pelvic viscera, especially the rectum; parasympathetic: smooth muscle and glands of the pelvic viscera, especially the rectum pain and general sensation from the rectum rectal plexus is continuous with the vesical plexus in the male, uterovaginal plexus in the female
renal plexus intermesenteric plexus, aorticorenal ganglion, least thoracic splanchnic n. unnamed branches course along the renal vessels sympathetic: smooth muscle of the blood vessels supplying the kidney, renal pelvis and upper ureter; parasympathetic: smooth muscle of the renal pelvis and upper ureter pain from the kidney, renal pelvis and upper ureter renal plexus contains postganglionic sympathetic axons and preganglionic parasympathetic axons (parasympathetic axons are of vagal origin)
root, dorsal from the dorsal horn of the spinal cord to the spinal nerve none none general sense (touch, pressure, pain, heat, cold, etc.) dorsal root is entirely sensory in function; it is located dorsal to the denticulate ligament
root, ventral from the ventral horn of the spinal cord to the spinal nerve none to skeletal mm.; preganglionic sympathetic (T1-L2) none entirely motor in function; located ventral to the denticulate ligament; at all spinal core levels it contains GSE for skeletal mm.; at levels T1-L2 it contains GVE (preganglionic sympathetic) for blood vessels, sweat glands, thoracic viscera, abdominal viscera, pelvic viscera
sacral plexus lumbosacral trunk (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L4-L5), ventral primary rami of spinal nerves S1-S4 superior & inferior gluteal nn., n. to obturator internus m., n. to quadratus femoris m., sciatic n., n. to piriformis, posterior femoral cutaneous n., pudendal n., n. to pelvic diaphragm, pelvic splanchnic nn. muscles of the pelvic diaphragm; muscles of the urogenital diaphragm; muscles of the posterior hip, posterior thigh, leg and foot skin of the perineum, posterior thigh, leg and foot (excluding the medial side of the leg and foot) the sacral plexus is often grouped with the lumbar plexus as the "lumbosacral plexus"
sacral splanchnic n. sacral sympathetic ganglia unnamed branches contribute to the pelvic plexus (inferior hypogastric) plexus vascular smooth muscle of the pelvic viscera pain from the pelvic viscera sacral splanchnic nn. contain both preganglionic and postganglionic sympathetic nerve fibers with postganglionic fibers predominating in number
spinal n. formed at the point where the dorsal and ventral rootlets meet; it ends where the dorsal and ventral primary rami diverge dorsal primary ramus; ventral primary ramus to skeletal mm.; some levels carry preganglionic sympathetic axons (T1-L2) general sense (touch, pressure, pain, heat, cold, etc.) from the entire surface of the neck, trunk and extremities; visceral pain (via the white ramus communicans and the sympathetic nervous system) located at the intervertebral foramen; there are 31 pairs of spinal nerves - 8 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral, 1 coccygeal
splanchnic, greater thoracic neurons in the intermediolateral cell column of spinal cord levels T5-T9; the greater thoracic splanchnic nerve appears to arise by multiple contributions from the sympathetic trunk no named branches celiac ganglion; preganglionic fibers supply the adrenal medulla which releases epinephrine and norepinephrine into the blood pain from the abdominal viscera greater thoracic splanchnic n. passes through the crus of the respiratory diaphragm; postganglionic processes from the celiac ganglion spread down the aorta and distribute with its branches; they innervate the vascular smooth of these vessels and vascular smooth muscle of the organs supplied
splanchnic, least thoracic neurons in the intermediolateral cell column of spinal cord level T12 no named branches renal plexus pain from the kidney and suprarenal gland least thoracic splanchnic n.pass through the crus of the diaphragm; it synapses in minute ganglia located in the renal plexus
splanchnic, lesser thoracic neurons in the intermediolateral cell column of spinal cord levels T10-T11; the lesser thoracic splanchnic nerve appears to arise by multiple contributions from the sympathetic trunk no named branches aorticorenal ganglion; pain from the kidney and suprarenal gland lesser thoracic splanchnic n. passes through the crus of the respiratory diaphragm; postganglionic processes from the ganglion supply vascular smooth muscle of branches of the renal a. and suprarenal aa.; kidney and suprarenal gland
splanchnic, lumbar lumbar sympathetic ganglia L1-L4 no named branches smooth muscle of vessels that supply the abdominal and pelvic viscera pain from abdominal and pelvic viscera sympathetic nerves; there are four of these on each side; lumbar splanchnic nn. contribute to preaortic abdominal plexuses (celiac, superior mesenteric, intermesenteric, superior hypogastric)
splanchnic, pelvic ventral primary rami of spinal nerves S2-S4 (cell bodies are located in the lateral horn gray of the sacral spinal cord) unnamed branches contribute to the pelvic plexus (inferior hypogastric) plexus smooth muscle and glands of the gut distal to the left colic flexure; smooth muscle and glands of all pelvic viscera none parasympathetic nerves; these contain preganglionic parasympathetic axons
splanchnic, sacral sacral sympathetic ganglia unnamed branches contribute to the pelvic plexus (inferior hypogastric) plexus vascular smooth muscle of the pelvic viscera pain from the pelvic viscera sacral splanchnic nn. contain both preganglionic and postganglionic sympathetic nerve fibers with postganglionic fibers predominating in number
subcostal n. ventral primary ramus of T12 lateral cutaneous br., anterior cutaneous br. muscles of the abdominal wall skin of the anterolateral abdominal wall the subcostal n. is equivalent to a posterior intercostal n. found at higher thoracic levels
submucosal ganglia of the gut preganglionic parasympathetic arrive via branches of the anterior and posterior vagal trunks (gut proximal to the left colic flexure) and pelvic splanchnic nn. (gut distal to the left colic flexure) postganglionic parasympathetic via many short fibers secretomotor to glands in the mucosa of the gut none terminal parasympathetic ganglia; parasympathetic terminal ganglia; also known as: Meissner's plexus
superior hypogastric plexus intermesenteric plexus and lumbar splanchnic nn. (postganglionic sympathetic axons) hypogastric nn. (right and left) vascular smooth muscle of the pelvic viscera (sympathetic) pain from the pelvic viscera; general visceral afferent from the pelvic viscera superior hypogastric plexus is the continuation of the intermesenteric plexus; it crosses the pelvic brim
superior mesenteric ganglion preganglionic sympathetic axons from the celiac plexus contributes to the superior mesenteric and intermesenteric plexuses vascular smooth muscle of brs. of the superior mesenteric a. pain from the lower half of the pancreas and duodenum, jejunum, ileum, cecum, appendix, ascending colon and transverse colon a sympathetic ganglion; located on the abdominal aorta at the origin of the superior mesenteric a.
superior mesenteric plexus celiac plexus, superior mesenteric ganglion multiple unnamed nn. course along the branches of the superior mesenteric a. sympathetic: smooth muscle of vessels supplying the lower pancreas, lower duodenum, jejunum, ileum, cecum, ascending colon and most of the transverse colon; parasympathetic (vagus): smooth muscle in the gut wall of same distribution area pain & GVA of the parts of the gut named at left superior mesenteric plexus contains a mixture of vagal (preganglionic parasympathetic) axons and postganglionic sympathetic axons
sympathetic chain ganglia preganglionic sympathetic fibers arrive via white rami communicantes of ventral primary rami of spinal nerves T1-L2 postganglionic sympathetic fibers depart via gray rami communicantes to all spinal nn.; internal & external carotid nn.; cervical cardiac brs.; thoracic direct visceral brs.; greater, lesser & least thoracic splanchnic nn.; lumbar splanchnic nn.; sacral splanchnic nn. dilator pupillae, vascular smooth muscle, arrector pili muscles, sweat glands, suprarenal medulla, heart, lungs and gut pain from viscera located lateral to the vertebral bodies in the neck, thorax & abdominopelvic cavity; the ganglia plus their interconnecting fibers are also known as the sympathetic trunk; preganglionic cell bodies are located in the intermediolateral gray matter of spinal cord levels T1-L2
vagus n. medulla: dorsal motor nucleus (GVE preganglionic parasympathetic); inferior ganglion (GVA); nucleus ambiguus (SVE); superior ganglion (GSA); inferior ganglion(SVA) auricular br., pharyngeal br., superior laryngeal, superior and inferior cervical cardiac brs., recurrent laryngeal n., thoracic cardiac brs., brs. to the pulmonary plexus, brs. to the esophageal plexus, anterior and posterior vagal trunks SVE: intrinsic muscles of the larynx, pharynx (except stylopharyngeus), and palate (except tensor veli palatini); GVE: smooth muscle of the respiratory tree & gut (proximal to the left colic flexure), heart; secretomotor: mucous glands of the larynx, respiratory tree, pharynx and gut; secretomotor to digestive glands GSA: skin of the external auditory meatus; GVA: viscera of head, neck, thorax & abdomen proximal to the left colic flexure; SVA: taste from the epiglottis also known as: CN X, 10th cranial nerve; the vagus n. passes through the jugular foramen to exit the posterior cranial fossa; vagus means "wanderer" in reference to its extensive distribution to the body cavities
ventral primary ramus first branch off of the ventral side of the spinal nerve numerous to skeletal mm. of the neck, trunk and extremities; sympathetic innervation to the skin general sense (touch, pressure, pain, heat, cold, etc.) to the skin of the trunk (except the back) and extremities; visceral pain via the white rami of the sympathetic nervous system (T1-L2) a mixed nerve containing both motor and sensory fibers
ventral root from the ventral horn of the spinal cord to the spinal nerve none to skeletal mm.; preganglionic sympathetic (T1-L2) none entirely motor in function; located ventral to the denticulate ligament; at all spinal core levels it contains GSE for skeletal mm.; at levels T1-L2 it contains GVE (preganglionic sympathetic) for blood vessels, sweat glands, thoracic viscera, abdominal viscera, pelvic viscera
white ramus communicans cell bodies located in the lateral horn gray matter of spinal cord levels T1-L2; none axons contained within white rami communicantes will synapse on postganglionic cell bodies that will ultimately innervate the skin, viscera, glands, blood vessels, etc. pain from viscera is carried back to the spinal cord through the white ramus communicans white rami communicantes connect the sympathetic chain to spinal nerves at vertebral levels T1-L2; carries preganglionic sympathetic axons


Some of the material presented in these tables is contained in the book:
MedCharts Anatomy by Thomas R. Gest and Jaye Schlesinger
Published by ILOC, Inc., New York. Copyright 1995.

The content of these tables has been edited for use in this course by Patrick W. Tank, Ph.D.
Copyright 2009, Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
Unauthorized use is prohibited.




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