Autonomic control of heart rate during orthostasis and the importance of orthostatic-tachycardia in the snake Python molurus
Data de publicação2014-10-01
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Orthostasis dramatically influences the hemodynamics of terrestrial vertebrates, especially large and elongated animals such as snakes. When these animals assume a vertical orientation, gravity tends to reduce venous return, cardiac filling, cardiac output and blood pressure to the anterior regions of the body. The hypotension triggers physiological responses, which generally include vasomotor adjustments and tachycardia to normalize blood pressure. While some studies have focused on understanding the regulation of these vasomotor adjustments in ectothermic vertebrates, little is known about regulation and the importance of heart rate in these animals during orthostasis. We acquired heart rate and carotid pulse pressure (P (PC)) in pythons in their horizontal position, and during 30 and 60A degrees inclinations while the animals were either untreated (control) or upon muscarinic cholinoceptor blockade and a double autonomic blockade. Double autonomic blockade completely eradicated the orthostatic-tachycardia, and without this adjustment, the P (PC) reduction caused by the tilts became higher than that which was observed in untreated animals. On the other hand, post-inclinatory vasomotor adjustments appeared to be of negligible importance in counterbalancing the hemodynamic effects of gravity. Finally, calculations of cardiac autonomic tones at each position revealed that the orthostatic-tachycardia is almost completely elicited by a withdrawal of vagal drive.