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Preface to ISAN 2000 satellite symposium: ageing and the autonomic nervous system

Cowen, T. and Santer, Robert Murray 2002. Preface to ISAN 2000 satellite symposium: ageing and the autonomic nervous system. Autonomic Neuroscience-Basic & Clinical 96 (1) , p. 1. 10.1016/S1566-0702(01)00380-0

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The papers in this special issue were drawn from an official satelite symposium held as part of the ISAN 2000 meeting in London. We gratefully acknowledge generous financial support from the British Heart Foundation, the Medical Research Council, Professor Geoffrey Burnstock and Eli Lilley & Co. A great deal remains to be understood about the nature of the ageing process in the nervous system at large as well as in its autonomic areas. The present issue provides a timely overview of the state of knowledge relating to the effects and correlates of ageing in the autonomic nervous system. The first section of the volume is given over to papers describing the functional correlates of ageing. Changes in calcium homeostasis (Bucholtz), control of neuroeffector mechanisms (Docherty), and autonomic regulation of cerebral blood flow (Sato) are described in the first set of papers. Ageing is commonly, but probably wrongly, generalised as a degenerative process. Many cells, including neurons, exhibit significant powers of compensation and recovery faced with the stresses and strains of ageing. The second section deals with plasticity in the adult and ageing autonomic nervous system, including analysis of the underlying mechanisms, with papers covering the effects of ageing on selective vulnerability in sympathetic neurons (Cowen), on sympathetic sprouting (Crutcher) and on trophic interactions in sympathetic and parasympathetic neurons (Smith) and sensory neurons (Ulfhake). The final section focuses on neurodegeneration in the ageing autonomic nervous system including analysis of disease processes in patients as well as in animal models. Papers analyse the patterns of neurodegeneration in Parkinsonian syndromes and autonomic failure (Mathias), in multiple systems atrophy (Benarroch) and in the postganglionic neurons (Schmidt) and preganglionic neurons (Santer) of the rodent sympathetic nervous system. Autonomic neurodegeneration clearly plays an important part in the ageing process. In addition, the autonomic nervous system provides a highly accessible and manipulable model system allowing investigation of the mechanisms underlying the effects of age on the nervous system as a whole.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1566-0702
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2020 04:08

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