Effects of Autonomic Blockade on the Baroreflex in Man at Rest and During Exercise
The reflex bradycardia produced by a transient phenylephrine-induced rise of arterial pressure was investigated in man during rest and supine exercise, before and after autonomic blockade of the heart. Reflex bradycardia diminished proportionally to the tachycardia of exercise. Propranolol slowed the heart at rest and during exercise, but increased the reflex response only at rest, having no effect during exercise. Atropine, or atropine with propranolol, blocked the reflex during rest and exercise. The tachycardia following hypotension induced by amyl nitrite was similarly affected by the two drugs. Tachycardia induced by standing up and by isoprenaline also diminished the reflex bradycardia. It is concluded that reflex heart rate changes following sudden changes of arterial pressure are predominantly parasympathetic, and diminish during exercise in parallel with the decrease of parasympathetic tone. The reflex response is determined partly by the interaction of parasympathetic and sympathetic impulses at the sinoatrial node, shown by the effects of peripheral sympathetic stimulation and blockade at rest. During exercise central depression of the reflex may also occur.
- Received January 21, 1971.
- Accepted December 3, 1971.
- © 1972 American Heart Association, Inc.