Autonomic control of cardiovascular functions during neonatal development and in adult sheep.
We studied the autonomic control of resting heart rate of systemic and pulmonary vascular blood pressures (BP) in chronically instrumented neonatal lambs 1-8 weeks of age. The maximum response to ganglionic blockade and sympathetic and parasympathetic antagonists was taken as an index of the magnitude of the total neural, adrenergic, and cholinergic tones. The reactivity of the circulatory parameters to adrenergic and cholinergic agonists also was investigated. All findings were compared with those in adult nonpregnant sheep studied concomitantly and with data previously obtained from term fetal lambs. The results of our studies show: (1) resting heart rate declines spontaneously throughout the 8 weeks of neonatal life approaching that of adult sheep; (2) the progressive bradycardia is not related to changes in the parasympathetic or sympathetic tone; (3) resting systemic BP is under strong neurohumoral control during the first two to three weeks of neonatal life; the control decreases progressively, becoming similar to that of adult sheep; (4) resting pulmonary artery pressure of neonatal and adult sheep has no neurohumoral control; (5) the systemic BP response of the neonate to autonomic agonists is greater than that of the term fetus and is similar to that of the adult; (6) in neonatal and adult sheep, compared to the term fetus, the pressor response to norepinephrine is accompanied by a baroreceptor-mediated bradycardia, and acetylcholine-induced systemci hypotension is accompanied by a "paradoxical" tachycardia mediated through beta-adrenergic stimulation; (7) in contrast to our finding for the fetus, the pulmonary vascular pressure of neonatal and adult sheep is unresponsive to autonomic agonists.
- Copyright © 1977 by American Heart Association