Background: Subthreshold electrical stimulation of the left stellate ganglion (LSG) can induce nerve sprouting and sympathetic hyperinnervation in canine ventricles. It is unclear whether a similar neural plasticity involving both sympathetic and parasympathetic innervation also exists in the atria. Methods and Results: We applied subthreshold electrical stimulation at 20 Hz (0.45 ms pulse width) or 5 Hz (1.9 ms pulse width) to the LSG in 6 normal mongrel dogs. After 41±9 days, the hearts were harvested and the right and left atrium stained for synaptophysin (SYN), growth-associated protein 43 (GAP43), sympathetic nerve markers tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), and parasympathetic marker choline acetyltransferase (ChAT). Tissues from 6 additional healthy dogs were used as controls. The hearts from dogs with LSG electrical stimulation had a higher density of nerve structures immunopositive to the SYN, GAP43, TH, and ChAT (P<.01) in both right and left atria. Nerve density was equal in right and left atria. There were more TH-positive nerve structures than ChAT-positive nerve structures (P<.01) for both right and left atria. No atrial arrhythmia was observed at the second surgery. Conclusions: Continuous subthreshold electrical stimulation to the LSG induces both sympathetic and parasympathetic hyperinnervation in both right and left atria in normal dogs.
- Nerve sprouting
- Nervous system
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine