Visceral effector organs


Skeletal muscles are completely dependent upon the appropriate innervation to maintain any type of function. Alternatively the involuntary effector muscles are able to maintain a specific state of function without the continuous motor impulses sent via the innervation process. Without nerve impulses, the smooth muscles will maintain a resting state of tension.

In the event that an autonomic nerve is damaged or severed, the related muscle then reacts with increased sensitivity to other stimulation. While these muscles all have an intrinsic resting tone, they also have their own independent rhythm which can maintain a state of homeostasis within the body.

For instance, the cardiac muscle requires nerve impulses to start in the earliest stages of life, to speed up, to slow down, or to alter its rhythm yet it does not require constant encouragement to continue its beat via nerve impulses. It does that on its own.

The resting tone of the autonomic nerves is considered a resting “firing” rate, which means that the nerves are active in a de-activated state and the impulses created are designed to signal a change in the existing rhythm. In order for the body to change the intrinsic activity of the effector organ, changes in the tonic neural activity must take place first.

This is most evident in the cardiac muscle, where direct communication is required for the nerve impulses to slow or increase the heart’s rhythm.


Visceral Effector Organs
Image: Visceral Effector Organs

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