Effects of sympathetic tone on vagally induced phasic changes in heart rate and atrioventricular node conduction in the anesthetized dog

J. J. Salata, R. M. Gill, R. F. Gilmour, D. P. Zipes

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23 Scopus citations


We examined the effects of stellate ganglia stimulation on the phase-dependent chronotropic and dromotropic responses to brief vagal bursts in open-chest anesthetized dogs. Stellate stimulation affected the phasic vagal effects on heart rate by shortening the latent period, shifting the phase at which maximum decrease in heart rate occurred to earlier phases, and reducing the maximum decrease in heart rate. These effects were due primarily to an increase in the basic heart rate. No significant sympathetic-parasympathetic interaction occurred for heart rate, indicating that accentuated antagonism did not occur with brief vagal bursts. Stellate stimulation primarily decreased the amplitude of the phasic vagal effects on atrioventricular nodal conduction, regardless of the underlying heart rate, and a significant sympathetic-parasympathetic interaction was associated with this effect. The peak of the phase-dependent vagal effects on heart rate and atrioventricular nodal conduction were phase-shifted with one another. From these findings, we postulate the small changes in sympathetic tone might shift the predominant phase-dependent vagal effect from one on heart rate to one on atrioventricular nodal conduction. Furthermore, our results suggest that dynamic vagal control of heart rate and atrioventricular node conduction involves both phase-dependent and phase-independent factors. Sympathetic activity appears to affect only the phase-independent factor(s) in the control of heart rate, whereas it affects both phase-dependent and phase-independent factors in the control of atrioventricular node conduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)584-594
Number of pages11
JournalCirculation research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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