in anesthetized rats
The effects of the pharyngeal non-noxious mechanical stimulation on the secretion of immunoreactive thyroxin (iT4), immunoreactive calcitonin (iCT), and immunoreactive parathyroid hormone (iPTH) into thyroid venous blood were examined in anesthetized rats. Secretion rates of iT4, iCT, and iPTH were calculated from their concentration in thyroid venous plasma and the plasma flow rate. A mechanical stimulation was delivered to the pharynx by a rubber balloon placed on the tongue that was intermittently pushed into the pharyngeal cavity. Pharyngeal stimulation increased iT4 and iCT secretion, but iPTH secretion was unchanged. The secretion responses were abolished by transecting the superior laryngeal nerves (SLNs) bilaterally. The activities of the thyroid parasympathetic efferent nerves and the afferent nerves in the SLN increased significantly during pharyngeal stimulation. These results indicate that pharyngeal mechanical stimulation promotes thyroxin and calcitonin secretion from the thyroid gland by a reflex increase in SLN parasympathetic efferent activity, triggered by excitation of SLN mechanoreceptive afferents.