The gustatory system influences many aspects of energy and hydromineral balance. Much of that influence is expressed through the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The neural mechanisms that underlie this interaction are poorly understood, but recent evidence provides an anatomical framework upon which studies can be based. Selected aspects of this evidence are reviewed that deal with the afferent, efferent, and central organization of the autonomic nervous system. Gustatory afferent activity interacts with ANS at each level of the nervous system. As with autonomic functions, basic reflex control appears to be vested in the medulla and spinal cord. Nevertheless, the forebrain, particularly the limbic system, has more or less direct access to both the relevant sensory informations and the autonomic motoneurons. The important physiological questions rest on how functional control is divided between the forebrain and hindbrain.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sensory Systems
- Physiology (medical)
- Behavioral Neuroscience