We studied the effects of stimulation of the vagal and sympathetic cardiac nerves on left ventricular contraction and relaxation in 16 anesthetized dogs. In each experiment, we paced the ventricles at a fixed rate of 120 beats/min, and we kept the systemic arterial pressure constant. We used the maximum rates of left ventricular pressure rise (dP/dtmax) and fall (dP/dtmin) as our indexes of ventricular contraction and relaxation. Sympathetic nerve stimulation at a frequency of 6 Hz increased dP/dtmax by 802 mmHg/s and raised dP/dtmin by 847 mmHg/s above the control level. The effect of vagal nerve stimulation was directly dependent on the level of sympathetic stimulation. In the absence of sympathetic stimulation, vagal nerve stimulation at a frequency of 5 Hz decreased dP/dtmax by 187 mmHg/s and reduced dP/dtmin by 199 mmHg/s below the control level. When the sympathetic stimulation was 6 Hz, vagal nerve stimulation at 5 Hz decreased dP/dtmax by 513 mmHg/s and reduced dP/dtmin by 709 mmHg/s. Furthermore, propranolol, in doses of 1.5 mg/kg, abolished any significant vagal effect on ventricular contraction or relaxation. We conclude that combined sympathetic-vagal stimulation results in a substantial antagonistic interaction such that vagal stimulation significantly attenuates the sympathetic enhancement of left ventricular function.
- Copyright © 1990 the American Physiological Society