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This study was designed to determine whether nitric oxide (NO) modulates the positive chronotropic and inotropic (in paced atria) responses to cardiac sympathetic nerve stimulation (SNS) in the isolated guinea-pig double atrial/right stellate ganglion preparation. The ganglion was stimulated at 1, 2, 3 and 5 Hz at constant voltage and the changes in heart rate or force of contraction were measured. The selective neuronal NO synthase (nNOS) inhibitors TRIM (1-(2-trifluoromethylphenyl) imidazole; 100 microM) and 7-NiNa (Na+ salt of 7-nitroindazole; 100 microM) significantly enhanced the positive chronotropic and inotropic responses to SNS. Similar results for heart rate were seen with the non-isoform-selective NOS inhibitor N(omega)nitro-L-arginine (L-NA; 100 microM). All effects were reversed with L-arginine (1 mM). The NO donor sodium nitroprusside (SNP; 100 microM) increased baseline heart rate and force of contraction, and attenuated the positive chronotropic and inotropic responses to SNS. SNP also decreased the positive chronotropic response to bath-applied noradrenaline (NA; 1 microM). In contrast, 7-NiNa did not alter the increase in heart rate with bath-applied NA (0.1 or 1 microM). The guanylyl cyclase inhibitor ODQ (10 microM) enhanced (mimicking nNOS inhibition) and the cyclic GMP (guanosine 3':5'-cyclic monophosphate) analogue 8-Br-cGMP (8-bromoguanosine 3':5'-cyclic monophosphate; 1 mM) attenuated (mimicking exogenous NO) the positive inotropic response to SNS. Taken together, these results are consistent with endogenous NO, synthesized from nNOS, inhibiting the positive chronotropic and inotropic responses evoked by cardiac SNS via a cyclic GMP-dependent pathway.

Original publication




Journal article


J Auton Nerv Syst

Publication Date





100 - 108


Animals, Atrial Function, Cyclic GMP, Enzyme Inhibitors, Guanylate Cyclase, Guinea Pigs, Heart, Heart Atria, Heart Rate, In Vitro Techniques, Male, Myocardial Contraction, Nerve Tissue Proteins, Nitric Oxide, Nitric Oxide Donors, Nitric Oxide Synthase, Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I, Nitroprusside, Norepinephrine, Stellate Ganglion, Sympathetic Nervous System