The esophageal plexus is formed by fibers from two sources: 1.branches of the vagus nerve 2.visceral branches of the sympathetic trunk. The esophageal plexus and the cardiac plexus contain the same types of fibers and are both considered thoracic autonomic plexus(es).
1. The Vagus nerve delivers two fiber types to the esophageal plexus:
- A. Parasympathetic preganglionic fibers- These fibers have their cell bodies located in the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus and they will synapse on the terminal ganglia in the walls of the esophagus.
- B. Afferent fibers- These fibers are primarily concerned with autonomic reflexes and they have their cell bodies in the inferior ganglion of the vagus.
"Note": These vagal fibers in the esophageal plexus reform to make the anterior vagal trunk (left vagus) and the posterior vagal trunk (right vagus). Anterior and posterior being terms in relation to the esophagus
2. The visceral branches of the sympathetic trunk also deliver two fiber types to the esophageal plexus
- A. sympathetic postganglionic fibers- The cell bodies of these fibers are located in the sympathetic trunk ganglia. The cell bodies of the preganglionic fibers, the first neuron of this two neuron chain, are located in the intermediolateral cell column (IMLCC) of the thoracic spinal cord.
- B. Afferent fibers- These fibers are primarily concerned with pain and have cell bodies located in the dorsal root ganglion.
- Template:SUNYAnatomyLabs - "Mediastinum: The Esophageal Plexus"