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Cardiac adrenergic mechanisms in rabbits with experimentally produced coronary atherosclerosis

  • R.A. Gillis
    Affiliations
    Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec (Canada) and Department of Pharmacology, Georgetown University' Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20007 U.S.A.
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  • K.I. Melville
    Affiliations
    Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec (Canada) and Department of Pharmacology, Georgetown University' Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20007 U.S.A.
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      Abstract

      The purpose of the study was to examine cardiac adrenergic function in rabbits with experimentally produced coronary atherosclerosis. This was carried out by (1) comparing the heart rate and coronary flow responses of normal hearts and hearts with coronary atherosclerosis to sympathetic nerve stimulation and to noradrenaline, and (2) comparing the cardiac catecholamine concentration of normal hearts and hearts with coronary atherosclerosis. It was found that hearts with coronary atherosclerosis were relatively insensitive to the heart rate and coronary flow effects of sympathetic nerve stimulation and noradrenaline. Measurements of noradrenaline output during nerve stimulation revealed no significant differences between the two groups of hearts. However, the adrenaline content of the hearts with coronary atherosclerosis was greater than that of normal hearts. It is concluded that a decrease in sensitivity of the heart to sympathetic nerve stimulation occurs with atherosclerosis.

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