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Auton Neurosci. 2009 Jan 28;145(1-2):55-62. doi: 10.1016/j.autneu.2008.11.007. Epub 2008 Dec 13.

Spatially divergent cardiac responses to nicotinic stimulation of ganglionated plexus neurons in the canine heart.

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Centre de Recherche, Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, Canada.


Ganglionated plexuses (GPs) are major constituents of the intrinsic cardiac nervous system, the final common integrator of regional cardiac control. We hypothesized that nicotinic stimulation of individual GPs exerts divergent regional influences, affecting atrial as well as ventricular functions. In 22 anesthetized canines, unipolar electrograms were recorded from 127 atrial and 127 ventricular epicardial loci during nicotine injection (100 mcg in 0.1 ml) into either the 1) right atrial (RA), 2) dorsal atrial, 3) left atrial, 4) inferior vena cava-inferior left atrial, 5) right ventricular, 6) ventral septal ventricular or 7) cranial medial ventricular (CMV) GP. In addition to sinus and AV nodal function, neural effects on atrial and ventricular repolarization were identified as changes in the area subtended by unipolar recordings under basal conditions and at maximum neurally-induced effects. Animals were studied with intact AV node or following ablation to achieve ventricular rate control. Atrial rate was affected in response to stimulation of all 7 GPs with an incidence of 50-95% of the animals among the different GPs. AV conduction was affected following stimulation of 6/7 GP with an incidence of 22-75% among GPs. Atrial and ventricular repolarization properties were affected by atrial as well as ventricular GP stimulation. Distinct regional patterns of repolarization changes were identified in response to stimulation of individual GPs. RAGP predominantly affected the RA and posterior right ventricular walls whereas CMVGP elicited biatrial and biventricular repolarization changes. Spatially divergent and overlapping cardiac regions are affected in response to nicotinic stimulation of neurons in individual GPs.

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