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Acetylcholine (often abbreviated ACh) is an organic, polyatomic cation that acts as a neurotransmitter in both the peripheral nervous system (PNS) and central nervous system (CNS) in many organisms, including humans.
Acetylcholine is one of many neurotransmitters in the autonomic nervous system (ANS).
The parasympatheticnervous system (PSNS, or occasionally PNS) is one of the two main divisions of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) (shown in ). The autonomic nervous system (ANS, or visceral nervous system, or involuntary nervous system) is the part of the peripheral nervous system that acts as a control system, functioning largely below the level of consciousness and controlling visceral functions. The ANS is responsible for regulation of internal organs and glands, which occurs unconsciously. Its roles include stimulation of "rest and digest" activities that occur when the body is at rest, including sexual arousal, salivation, lacrimation (tears), urination, digestion, and defecation. Its action is described as being complementary to that of one of the other main branches of the ANS, the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for stimulating activities associated with the "fight or flight" response.
Nerve Innervation of the Autonomic Nervous System
The parasympathetic nervous system, shown in blue, is a division of the autonomic nervous system.
Sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions typically function in opposition to each other. This natural opposition is better understood as complementary in nature rather than antagonistic. The sympathetic nervous system can be considered a quick response, mobilizing system; and the parasympathetic a more slowly activated dampening system. The sympathetic division typically facilitates quick responses. The parasympathetic division functions in a slower, stabler, and often inhibitory manner. A useful acronym to summarize the functions of the parasympathetic nervous system is SLUDD (salivation, lacrimation, urination, digestion, and defecation). The parasympathetic nervous system may also be known as the parasympathetic division.
Acting as a accelerator or gas pedal for the body, Working to enhance the sympathetic system drive, Useing primarily adrenergic neurotransmitters, and Stimulating the 'rest and digest' bodily activities