Cendra Agulhon



Conference room R229
Campus Saint Germain des Prés de l'Université de Paris, 45 rue des Saints Pères, Paris 6e


03 Nov 2023


11 h 30 min - 12 h 30 min


Neuroscience Seminar Series

Genetic architecture of the autonomic nervous system, by Jean-François Brunet

Genetic architecture of the autonomic nervous system

A general structure for the autonomic nervous system, divided into sympathetic and parasympathetic arms, was codified by John Newport Langley at the beginning of the XXth century. We propose a revision of this scheme based on neuron types. The “sacral parasympathetic” outflow is revealed to bear no resemblance to the cranial one, and to be instead a caudal elaboration of the thoraco-lumbar sympathetic system. The midbrain pathway to the eye, considered parasympathetic, is shown to belong in a class by itself. Thus the current parasympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system turns out to be a mosaic of largely unrelated cell types, in line with its multifarious physiological functions, poorly subsumed under the popular “rest and digest” motto.

Short Biography
Jean-François Brunet is director of research at the CNRS and heads a group at the Institut de Biologie de l’École normale supérieure (IBENS) in Paris. He works on several aspects of the embryonic development, physiology and large-scale evolution of the visceral nervous system.

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