Cardiovascular responses to intrathecal administration of strychnine in the rat
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Experiments were done to determine the influence of spinal glycinergic mechanisms in regulating sympathetic output to the heart and vessels in the anaesthetized male Sprague-Dawley rat. Intrathecal administration of 65 (n = 6) and 130 (n = 8) nmol of strychnine, but not of a lower dose (32.5 nmol, n = 8), to the second thoracic segment increased heart rate within one minute (P less than 0.01). Similar administration of artificial cerebrospinal fluid (n = 16) had no effect. The increase in heart rate in response to strychnine peaked at 5-7 min (+35.1 +/- 5.8 bpm with 130 nmol), and slowly returned toward baseline values over the next 25 min. Arterial pressure was unaffected by this treatment. These effects were not mimicked by administration of strychnine (n = 6) at the third lumbar spinal level or by intravenous infusion of strychnine (n = 4) and were abolished by systemic injection of hexamethonium (n = 6). The results suggest that there is a tonic glycine-mediated inhibition of sympathetic output at the spinal level.
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