Cardiac sympathetic afferent cell bodies are located in the peripheral nervous system of the cat.
Studies of the stellate ganglion and middle cervical ganglion indicate that sympathetic efferent nerve activity can be modified by peripheral excitatory inputs and that these neural connections may function as pathways for a peripheral reflex at the level of the thoracic sympathetic ganglia. This excitatory synaptic input could have a soma in either the central or the peripheral nervous system. A study was designed to determine whether chronic decentralization (3 weeks) of the stellate ganglion in cats would 1) abolish sympathetic cardiac afferent nerve activity recorded at the stellate cardiac nerve and 2) abolish local thoracic reflexes that are generated by stimulation of peripheral nerves. The ansae subclaviae, T3 and T4 rami, and stellate ganglion were also examined by electron microscopy for the extent of Wallerian degeneration. Afferent cardiac activation of the axon collaterals arising from cell bodies located in the dorsal root ganglia was abolished due to degeneration. However, sympathetic afferent nerve activity from the left ventricular receptors was still present and was recorded from the stellate cardiac nerve in all cats. Cardiac receptors were sensitive to mechanical distortion, increases in the left ventricular pressure, and epicardial application of veratrine hydrochloride. These data imply that 1) cardiovascular afferent input to the stellate ganglion persists following chronic decentralization and 2) the sensory neurons are located in the peripheral sympathetic nervous system. Thus, we find that regulation of the heart occurs in part via thoracic ganglia, independently of the central nervous system.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association