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The mechanisms responsible for phase 2 (infarct-related) ventricular arrhythmias remain unclear. We have investigated the role of α1 and β1 adrenoceptor activation and the interaction of this with infarct neutrophil accumulation, in anaesthetized rats.Neutrophil-replete Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 8–9 per group) were anaesthetized and randomized to receive vehicle, prazosin (0.5 mg·kg−1 i.v.), atenolol (4 mg·kg−1 i.v.) or their combination prior to left main coronary artery occlusion. A further group was depleted of neutrophils and received both atenolol and prazosin. Coronary ligation in all groups was maintained for 240 min.Atenolol and prazosin treatment lowered heart rates and blood pressures respectively, but neither agent given alone affected the incidence of phase 2 ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation. However, co-administration of atenolol with prazosin reduced phase 2 ventricular premature beats (log10-transformed totals were 1.25 ± 0.26 vs. 2.43 ± 0.18 in controls; P < 0.05). Neutrophil depletion attenuated this antiarrhythmic effect (log10-transformed total ventricular premature beats were 1.66 ± 0.35; P > 0.05 vs. controls).Phase 2 arrhythmias appear to depend in part on a complex interaction between catecholamines and neutrophils. A model of this interaction is proposed.