Send to

Choose Destination
J Am Coll Cardiol. 1994 Jan;23(1):194-200.

Short-term effects of naloxone on hemodynamics and baroreflex function in conscious dogs with pacing-induced congestive heart failure.

Author information

Department of Medicine (Cardiology and Endocrinology Units), University of Rochester Medical Center, New York 14642.



The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of naloxone on systemic hemodynamics and reflex function in dogs with congestive heart failure induced by rapid pacing.


We have shown previously that naloxone, an opiate receptor antagonist, improves cardiac output, aortic blood pressure, systolic performance and the baroreflex function in conscious dogs with chronic right-sided congestive heart failure. However, whether endogenous opioids also play a role n mediating the reduction of myocardial and baroreflex function in animals with left heart failure remains controversial.


We administered naloxone (1 mg/kg body weight) and normal saline solution to 15 dogs with pacing-induced congestive heart failure (225 beats/min for 8 weeks) and 11 control dogs. In addition to systemic hemodynamic measurements, the slope of pressure-area relation obtained from echocardiography with intravenous bolus injection of phenylephrine was taken as a load-independent index of myocardial contractility. Baroreflex function was estimated by the slope of the regression line relating systolic aortic pressure and RR interval.


Plasma beta-endorphin levels were elevated in dogs with congestive heart failure. Naloxone administration increased heart rate, mean aortic pressure, first derivative of left ventricular pressure, cardiac output and myocardial contractility in pacing-induced congestive heart failure. These changes correlated significantly with basal plasma beta-endorphin levels and were accompanied by increases in plasma beta-endorphin and catecholamines after naloxone administration. However, unlike the hemodynamic and cardiac effects of naloxone, baroreflex function did not change after naloxone in dogs with congestive heart failure.


The increase in basal plasma beta-endorphin suggests that the endogenous opiate system is activated in left-sided congestive heart failure. Because naloxone improves the systemic hemodynamics and myocardial contractile function under this condition, the endogenous opioids appear to play an important role in mediating the myocardial depression that occurs in heart failure. However, the endogenous opiate system has no apparent effect on the regulation of baroreflex control in heart failure induced by rapid pacing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center