Peripheral Ganglia

Human anatomy > Autonomic Nervous System > Peripheral Ganglia

Peripheral ganglia are a group of cells found in the Peripheral Nervous System or PNS. The PNS is found in the periphery of the Central Nervous System or CNS. This exists outside the spinal cord and the brain and is not enclosed with any protective structure. The peripheral ganglia have the following characteristics:

Major Function

The major function of the peripheral ganglia is to connect the central nervous system to the different parts of the body. The peripheral ganglia are found near target organs in the upper area of the body, more specifically, in the head.  You can also find them in the abdomen, thorax, stomach, spleen, and liver kidney along the pelvis area, which act as the target organs.   The genital organs and small intestines are also involved and they respond to innervations initiated by the postganglionic neurons. The peripheral ganglia are responsible in coordinating innervations coming from other organs and cells to the central nervous system.

Protection is non-existent

It is easily susceptible to bacterial invasion or physical trauma because protection through bones is non-existent.  Other ganglia have protective bone structures that cover the parts effectively.  Hence, it is more prone to injury than its other counterparts.  Damage to any of these masses of biological tissue is damage to the Peripheral Nervous System or PNS as well.


It responds to the synapse of neurons found at splanchnic nerves and the preganglions. The peripheral ganglia involve the inferior mesenteric ganglia, the superior mesenteric ganglia and the cilia.  It responds to splanchnic and preganglionic innervations.  The splanchnic nerve originates from the preganglionic nerves T4 and T9.  

The peripheral ganglia perform vital functions that no other body part can do. Knowing these functions and facts can help you understand certain physiologic and biochemical processes and their relationship to health and disease.

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