Reduction of intrinsic sinoatrial frequency and norepinephrine response of the exercised rat
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Physical training is associated with a reduction of intrinsic sinoatrial activity; the present study examined the role of the parasympathetic nervous system in this reduction. Six groups of rats were studied for 10 weeks: inactive control; treadmill exercised; parasympathetic receptor blockade with atropine; exercise plus atropine; parasympathetic receptor stimulation with carbachol; and exercise plus carbachol. In vivo ISF (cardiac frequency 20 min after injection of propranolol and atropine) was measured at 3-week intervals. At the end of 10 weeks the right atrium was excised, in vitro measurements were made of ISF, and chronotropic dose-response curves to acetylcholine and norepinephrine were established. In vivo, ISF was reduced with time, the greatest reduction being found in the exercise plus atropine group; the treadmill-exercised and the atropine-treated groups also had a greater reduction than the control group. In vitro, no differences were observed in acetylcholine responses. The maximum norepinephrine chronotropic response was reduced in the treadmill-exercised and the exercise plus atropine groups. The maximum norepinephrine-induced frequency correlated with the in vitro ISF (r = 0.75). Thus, ISF was reduced with training, but this effect was independent of parasympathetic activity. The properties of the sinoatrial node which set ISF also influenced the maximum norepinephrine response.
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