solar plexus

solar plexus

solar plexus, dense cluster of nerve cells and supporting tissue, located behind the stomach in the region of the celiac artery just below the diaphragm. It is also known as the celiac plexus. Rich in ganglia and interconnected neurons, the solar plexus is the largest autonomic nerve center in the abdominal cavity (see nervous system). Through branches it controls many vital functions such as adrenal secretion and intestinal contraction. Popularly, the term "solar plexus" may refer to the pit of the stomach. A blow to that area, if it penetrates to the true solar plexus, not only causes great pain but may also temporarily halt visceral functioning.
A plexus is a network. It has more specific meanings in multiple fields.

Biology

In biology it has multiple meanings.

Nervous system

In many animals the processes of neurons join together to form a plexus or nerve net.

In vertebrates

In vertebrates, a plexus is an area where nerves branch and rejoin, for example the brachial plexus made up of the spinal nerves which enter the arm and the solar plexus above the stomach.

Almost a hundred such plexuses have been named in the human body, but the four primary nerve plexuses are the cervical plexus, brachial plexus, lumbar plexus, and the sacral plexus.

In invertebrates

Plexuses is the characteristic form of nervous system in the coelenterates and persists with modifications in the flatworms. The nerves of the radially symmetric echinoderms also take this form, where a plexus underlies the ectoderm of these animals and deeper in the body other nerve cells form plexuses of limited extent.

Circulatory system

A plexus is also a network of blood vessels, with the choroid plexuses of the brain being the most commonly mentioned example. Choroid plexuses are very thin and vascular roof plates of the most anterior and most posterior cavities of the brain which expand into the interiors of the cavities. Other vascular plexuses are found elsewhere in the body.

{stub}

Search another word or see solar plexuson Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature