Effects of Direct Sympathetic and Vagus Nerve Stimulation on the Physiology of the Whole Heart – A Novel Model of Isolated Langendorff Perfused Rabbit Heart with Intact Dual Autonomic Innervation
A novel isolated Langendorff perfused rabbit heart preparation with intact dual autonomic innervation is described. This preparation allows the study of the effects of direct sympathetic and vagus nerve stimulation on the physiology of the whole heart. These hearts (n= 10) had baseline heart rates of 146 ± 2 beats min−1 which could be increased to 240 ±11 beats min−1 by sympathetic stimulation (15 Hz) and decreased to 74 ± 11 beats min−1 by stimulation of the vagus nerve (right vagus, 7 Hz). This model has the advantage of isolated preparations, with the absence of influence from circulating hormones and haemodynamic reflexes, and also that of in vivo preparations where direct nerve stimulation is possible without the need to use pharmacological agents. Data are presented characterising the preparation with respect to the effects of autonomic nerve stimulation on intrinsic heart rate and atrioventricular conduction at different stimulation frequencies. We show that stimulation of the right and left vagus nerve have differential effects on heart rate and atrioventricular conduction.
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