Vagal afferents from the cardiopulmonary region exert a tonic inhibition on the vasomotor center. This is demonstrated by constriction of systemic resistance and splanchnic capacitance vessels and by increased output of renin when the vagi are cut or blocked. In dogs, removal or selective denervation of organs showed that receptors in the lungs, the atria, and the ventricles each are responsible for the vasomotor inhibition. That this inhibition is due to nonmedullated vagal afferents (C fibers) was demonstrated by selective cooling of the vagi, anodal block of medullated afferents, and selective electrical stimulation of medullated and nonmedullated fibers. In the open-chest cat the discharge frequency of individual C fibers is sparse and irregular (mean, 1.4 impulses/sec) but increases to 10 or more impulses/sec with moderate increases in cardiac filling pressure and exhibits cardiac rhythmicity or is continuous throughout the cardiac cycle. The inhibition of sympathetic vasomotor outflow effected through the cardiopulmonary receptors is inversely related to that exerted by the arterial baroreceptors. The former receptors have less influence on the muscle circulation than the latter, but have an equal or greater effect on the renal circulation. In summary, receptors in the heart and lungs with nonmedullated vagal afferents are an important component of the integrated neural control of the circulation.
- Copyright © 1976 by American Heart Association