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Acetylcholinesterase Enzyme responsible for the degradation of Ach.
Adrenergic Neuronal Blockers Medications that prevent NE from exiting the nerve terminal.
Anisocoria Unequal pupils.
Intrinsic Sympathomimetic Activity (ISA) Drugs with paradoxical partial β-agonist properties; clinical significance unknown.
Lipid Solubility Accounts for the CNS side effects of a drug.
Malignant Hypertension Severely elevated blood pressure associated with CNS, renal, or cardiac symptoms.
Membrane Stabilizing Activity (MSA) Imparts a local anesthetic quality to β-blockers; may contribute to antiarrhythmic property.
Miosis Pupillary constriction.
Myasthenia Gravis Autoimmune disease characterized by increasing muscle weakness with use due to the presence of antibodies to the Ach receptor at the neuromuscular junction.
Mydriasis Pupillary dilation.
Nonselective α-Adrenergic Blockers Medications that block α1- and α2-adrenergic sites.
Nonselective β-Blockers Medications that block β1- and β2-adrenergic sites.
Pheochromocytoma Tumor of the adrenal gland that secretes catecholamines.
Plasma Binding Accounts for the drug interactions.
Postural (orthostatic) Hypotension A 20 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure or 10 mm Hg drop in diastolic blood pressure within 3 minutes of standing due to a defect in the blood pressure control system.
Raynaud's Disease Vascular disorder characterized by peripheral vasoconstriction.
Selective α-Adrenergic Blockers Medications that block α1-adrenergic sites only.
Selective β-Adrenergic Blockers Medications that block β1-adrenergic sites only.
Sjögren's Syndrome Syndrome of dry mouth and dry eyes due to lymphocytic infiltration of the salivary and lacrimal glands; often observed in patients with autoimmune disorders including RA and SLE.
Tourette's Syndrome Syndrome characterized by motor and verbal tics.
Xerostomia Dry mouth.



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Component Parasympathetic Nervous System Sympathetic Nervous System
Path of preganglionic cell CN III, VII, IX, X, and S2–S4 TI–L2
Preganglionic fiber length Long Short
Preganglionic myelination Myelinated Myelinated
Pre- to postganglionic ratio One to one (except vagus nerve) One to many
Preganglionic cell NT Ach Ach
Postganglionic cell location On or near organ Sympathetic chain next to spinal cord
Postganglionic fiber length Short Long
Postganglionic myelination Unmyelinated Unmyelinated
Postganglionic cell NT Ach NE (except adrenal medulla—EPI; piloerector muscles and sweat glands—Ach)



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Tissue Parasympathetic Nervous System Sympathetic Nervous System
Mechanism Effect Mechanism Effect
Pupil of the eye
  • Ach binds to muscarinic receptors on the sphincter muscle

  • Ach binds to muscarinic receptor on the ciliary muscle (Note: Contraction of ciliary muscle causes relaxation of the suspensory ligaments, allowing the lens to get rounder and facilitates near vision)

  • Contraction of the ...

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