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Jpn J Physiol. 1988;38(3):251-66.

Physiological characterization of the renal-sympathetic reflex in rabbits.

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  • 1Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan.


In urethane-anesthetized and vagotomized rabbits, electrical stimulation of the afferent renal nerve (RN) elicited reflex changes in renal nerve activity (RNA) and arterial pressure (AP). The responses were attributable mostly to excitation of nonmyelinated afferent fibers, although, in about 30% of the animals, they were contributed slightly by myelinated afferents. In about 70% of rabbits, the peristimulus time histogram (PTH) of RNA following stimulation of the RN consisted of a long-lasting inhibitory (I) component occasionally accompanied, during its recovery phase, by a transient excitatory (E) component. In these animals, tetanic stimulation of the RN resulted in a depressor response, either alone or, if an E component was present in the PTH, followed by a slight pressor response. In the remaining rabbits, the PTH was composed exclusively of an E component and tetanic stimulation caused a pressor response. Stimulation of the RN evoked reflex changes in cardiac sympathetic discharges comparable to that of RNA, whereas the change in cervical sympathetic discharges was much smaller. The sympathetic response remained intact after a total transection of the rostral medulla near the ponto-medullary junction; the I component was even augmented. However, it usually disappeared following a transection at the high cervical cord. Bilateral lesions of the nucl. tractus solitarius (NTS) near the obex failed to appreciably affect the response. Among chemical and mechanical stimuli examined, nociceptive stimulation of the kidney elicited a sympathetic response comparable to that following nerve stimulation. In conclusion, the renal-sympathetic reflex in rabbits (1) originates predominantly from nonmyelinated afferent renal fibers activated effectively by nociceptive stimulation applied to the kidney; (2) depends critically on medullary structures other than the NTS; and (3) evokes changes of the same temporal pattern but of nonuniform magnitude in sympathetic discharges to different organs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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