Reflex tracheal contraction during pulmonary venous congestion in the dog.
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1. The effect of pulmonary venous congestion on tracheal tone was studied in dogs anaesthetized with alpha-chloralose. Pulmonary venous congestion was produced by partial obstruction of the mitral valve to increase left atrial pressure by 10 mmHg. Tracheal tone was measured in vivo by an isometric force displacement method. 2. Tracheal tone increased by 6.3 +/- 0.3 g from a control level of 91.6 +/- 2.8 g when left atrial pressure was increased by 10.5 +/- 0.3 mmHg. This response was abolished by cooling the cervical vagi to 8 degrees C at a point caudal to the origin of the superior laryngeal nerves. Also, sectioning the superior laryngeal nerves abolished this increase in tracheal tone. 3. Afferent activity recorded from rapidly adapting receptors of the airways increased significantly during pulmonary venous congestion. This increase in activity was abolished by cooling the vagi caudal to the recording site to 8-9 degrees C. 4. Administration of propranolol (0.5 mg/kg) failed to abolish this increase in tracheal tone while atropine (3 mg/kg) did so. 5. Stimulation of left atrial receptors without an increase in left atrial pressure and stimulation of right atrial receptors with and without increases in right atrial pressure did not cause any change in tracheal tone. 6. It is suggested that pulmonary venous congestion is associated with a reflex increase in tracheal tone, the afferent limb of which is formed by pulmonary receptors discharging into myelinated fibres in the cervical vagi and the efferent limb by parasympathetic cholinergic fibres in the superior laryngeal nerves. The afferent receptors are likely to be the rapidly adapting receptors. This reflex may be of importance in the development of the respiratory symptoms associated with left ventricular failure.
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