Thoracic splanchnic nerves

Thoracic splanchnic nerves
Nerve: Thoracic splanchnic nerves
The right sympathetic chain and its connections with the thoracic, abdominal, and pelvic plexuses. (Greater and lesser splanchnic nerves labeled at left.)
Abdominal portion of the sympathetic trunk, with the celiac and hypogastric plexuses. (Greater splanchnic and lowest splanchnic labeled at upper left. Greater splanchnic and lesser splanchnic labeled at upper right.)
Gray's subject #217 981
From thoracic ganglia
MeSH Splanchnic+Nerves

Thoracic splanchnic nerves are splanchnic nerves that arise from the sympathetic trunk in the thorax and travel inferiorly to provide sympathetic innervation to the abdomen. The nerves contain preganglionic sympathetic and visceral afferent fibers.

There are three main thoracic splanchnic nerves:

Name Ganglia Description
greater[1] T5-T9 or T5-T10[2] The nerve travels through the diaphragm and enters the abdominal cavity, where its fibers synapse at the celiac ganglia. The nerve contributes to the celiac plexus, a network of nerves located in the vicinity of where the celiac trunk branches from the abdominal aorta. The fibers in this nerve modulate the activity of the enteric nervous system of the foregut. They also provide the sympathetic innervation to the adrenal medulla, stimulating catecholamine release.
lesser[3] T9-T12, T9-T10[3], T10-T12, or T10-T11[2] The nerve travels inferiorly, lateral to the greater splanchnic nerve. Its fibers synapse with their postganglionic counterparts in the superior mesenteric ganglia, or in the aorticorenal ganglion. The nerve modulates the activity of the enteric nervous system of the midgut.
least or lowest[4] T12-L2, or T11-T12 The nerve travels into the abdomen, where its fibers synapse in the renal ganglia.

The nerve's origins can be remembered by the "4-3-2 rule", accounting for the number of ganglia giving rise to each nerve. However, different sources define the nerves in different ways, so this rule may not always be reliable.

Additional images

Greater splanchnic nerve, seen in thoracic cavity seen from left side.


  1. ^ "greater splanchnic nerve" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  2. ^ a b thoraxlesson5 at The Anatomy Lesson by Wesley Norman (Georgetown University)
  3. ^ a b "lesser splanchnic nerve" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  4. ^ "Least splanchnic nerve" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • splanchnic nerves — the series of nerves in the sympathetic system that are distributed to the blood vessels and viscera, passing forwards and downwards from the chain of sympathetic ganglia near the spinal cord to enter the abdomen and branch profusely. * * * the… …   Medical dictionary

  • Thoracic ganglia — Infobox Nerve Name = PAGENAME Latin = ganglia thoracica GraySubject = GrayPage = Caption = Lower half of right sympathetic cord. Caption2 = Innervates = BranchFrom = BranchTo = thoracic splanchnic nerves, stellate ganglion MeshName = MeshNumber …   Wikipedia

  • Thoracic diaphragm — diaphragm Respiratory system Latin diaphragma Artery Pericardiacophrenic artery …   Wikipedia

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  • Thoracic cavity — Latin cavitas thoracis Gray s subject #136 524 Dorlands/Elsevier …   Wikipedia

  • splanchnic nerve — n any of three important nerves situated on each side of the body and formed by the union of branches from the six or seven lower thoracic and first lumbar ganglia of the sympathetic system: a) a superior one ending in the celiac ganglion called… …   Medical dictionary

  • Cardiopulmonary nerves — are splanchnic nerves Essential Clinical Anatomy. K.L. Moore A.M. Agur. Lippincott, 2 ed. 2002. Page 164 ] that are postsynaptic and sympathetic. They originate in cervical and upper thoracic ganglia and innervate the thoracic cavity.References …   Wikipedia

  • Nerve — A bundle of fibers that uses electrical and chemical signals to transmit sensory and motor information from one body part to another. See nervous system. * * * A whitish cordlike structure composed of one or more bundles (fascicles) of myelinated …   Medical dictionary

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