Effect of Stimulation of Hypothalamus and Reticular Activating System on Production of Cardiac Arrhythmia
Changes in blood pressure and the electrocardiogram were studied before and after the stimulation of the hypothalamus (anterior, lateral, and posterior) and the reticular formation of the pons in anesthetized cats.
The stimulation of the anterior hypothalamus produced a rise of blood pressure and usually bradycardia; tachycardia was rarely observed. Arrhythmias were not observed, and the electrocardiographic changes consisted only of slight ST elevation and deepening of the T waves. Stimulation of the lateral hypothalamus produced a rise in blood pressure of a lesser magnitude than that of the anterior hypothalamus but was associated with a transitory phase of A-V dissociation and frequent premature systoles. Stimulation of the posterolateral hypothalamus resulted in the same rise in blood pressure as that of stimulation of the lateral hypothalamus and was accompanied by nodal rhythms, aberrant ventricular conduction, and fusion beats. Stimulation of the reticular formation produced a rise in blood pressure similar to stimulation of the lateral and posterolateral hypothalamus and was associated with slight tachycardia, widening of the QRS complexes, transitory A-V dissociation with nodal escapes and ectopic beats of ventricular origin, and fusion beats.
These findings suggest that: (1) the hypothalamus serves as a pathway for cardiac neurovegetative stimuli, probably via the reticular formation, producing predominantly sinus node depression; (2) the posterolateral hypothalamus and reticular formation have similar functions in the production of cardiac arrhythmia.
- Received July 13, 1962.
- © 1963 American Heart Association, Inc.