Autonomic Fibers

NUCLEUS

The inferior salivatory nucleus gives rise to general visceral efferent fibers that provide input for parotid gland secretion. The afferent limb for autonomic reflexive control of respiration and cardiac output is provided by general visceral afferent fibers of the glossopharyngeal nerve. These fibers convey impulses to the nucleus solitarius from chemoreceptors of the carotid body and baroreceptors from the carotid sinus regarding blood oxygen tension and blood pressure, respectively.

SUPRANUCLEAR CONTROL

The salivatory nucleus receives input from the hypothalamus. The output influencing parotid gland secretion may be modulated by emotional stimuli, such as fear causing dryness of mouth, or by sensory input, such as pleasant odors of food producing increased secretion (mouth watering).

PERIPHERAL PATHWAYS

The glossopharyngeal general visceral efferent fibers reach the otic ganglion, which lies below the foramen ovale. Postganglionic fibers from the otic ganglion then provide input to the parotid gland.

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