Effects of Acetylcholine on the Ventricular Specialized Conducting System of Neonatal and Adult Dogs

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We determined the effects of acetylcholine on automaticity of isolated cardiac Purkinje fibers from neonatal and adult dogs and on the idioventricular rhythm of adult dogs with complete atrioventricular block. Isolated Purkinje fibers were studied with standard microelectrode techniques during superfusion with Tyrode's solution at 37 °C. For both age groups, spontaneous rate was' decreased by acetylcholine, an effect which was reduced by atropine. The magnitude of the effect is equal in both neonatal and adult dogs. The negative chronotropic effect of acetylcholine was not prevented by phentolamine, indicating that an α-adrenergic mechanism was not involved. The idioventricular rate of conscious dogs with formalin-induced heart block was decreased by administration of acetylcholine. The effect was augmented by propranolol and attenuated by atropine. Thus, for both the in vitro and in situ ventricular specialized conducting system, acetylcholine decreases automaticity presumably through combination with a muscarinic receptor.

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