sympathetic ganglia

Last reviewed 01/2018

The sympathetic ganglia are the sites at which preganglionic sympathetic nerves synapse with the cell bodies of postganglionic sympathetic nerves. The synaptic neurotransmitter is acetylcholine.

Anatomically, the ganglia exist in two discrete groups:

  • paravertebral ganglia; chains of ganglia lying either side of the vertebral column from the skull base to the coccyx
  • prevertebral ganglia; more irregular, unpaired ganglia around the anterior surface of the aorta within the abdomen

The ganglia can be considered in terms of:

  • anatomical location
  • routes taken by preganglionic neurones through the ganglia