Reflex heart rate control via specific aortic nerve afferents in the rabbit.
Reflex bradycardia was elicited in rabbits via repetitive electrical stimulation of the central end of the sectioned left aortic nerve. Supramaximal stimulation produced a 16.9 plus or minus 1.3% (SE) increase in the R-R interval when vagal and sympathetic efferent pathways were intact. Reducing the stimulation voltage allowed selective stimulation of the myelinated (A) fibers, and polarizing electrodes placed central to the stimulus site permitted A fiber blockade and selective stimulation of the unmyelinated (C) fibers. When afferent A fibers were selectively stimulated, 64% of the maximum response was obtained; selective C fiber activation elicited 63% of the maximum observed response. Selective stimulation of A or C fibers after either vagotomy or stellectomy indicated that A fiber afferents elicit heart rate responses via both vagal and sympathetic efferents, whereas C fiber afferent information is mediated predominantly via vagal efferents. This afferent-efferent specificity of the aortic baroreceptor pathways suggests baroreceptor mechanisms normally used to modulate heart rate. Small increments in blood pressure would activate low-threshold A fibers and result in reciprocal changes in vagal and sympathetic efferent activity. More substantial increases in blood pressure would activate afferent C fibers and produce additional heart rate effects via vagal efferents.
- Copyright © 1975 by American Heart Association