- Provides a much-needed comprehensive review of the development, neurochemistry, anatomy, biophysics, pharmacology and physiology of the vagal afferent nerves
- Contains chapters that connect many aspects of vagal sensory nerve biology from the terminals in the visceral tissues to the neural pathways within the central nervous system
- Presents the unique embryological history of the vagal sensory neurons
- Details experimental techniques used to investigate the development, morphology, electrophysiology, and reflex function of the vagal afferent nerves
Vagus is a Latin word that shares its root with the word vague. This is appropriate, as much of what we know about vagal sensory neuroscience remains vague and imprecise. The number of scientific studies aimed directly at investigating afferent nerves within the vagi pale in comparison with those involved within the spinal afferent system. In addition, because the vagus meanders through the viscera, providing regulatory influences over the thoracic and abdominal organs, experts in vagal neurobiology are typically organo-centric and spread across many disciplines.
Advances in Vagal Afferent Neurobiology brings together more than thirty of the world's leading neuroscientists to present a coherent summary of vagal afferent neuroscience obtained within the body's organ systems. By juxtaposing the contributions of many disciplines in a single volume, this work encourages a cross-fertilization of ideas that provides new insights and increased focus on this important topic. The book contains chapters that deal with vagal nerves in the central nervous system, lungs, esophagus, heart, and gastrointestinal tract. It also covers critical aspects ranging from vagus nerves in the embryo to vagus nerves in the adult, and considers activity in individual neurons to whole animal studies of the reflexes and sensations such activity engenders.
Each chapter provides an overview of a particular area of vagal afferent neuroscience, and, in many cases, offers details pertaining to specific experiments and techniques. By painting vagal afferent biology with the broadest brush possible, this text offers a unique and useful resource for the student, as well as for the established neuroscientist interested in the visceral nervous system.