Age-Related Cardiovascular Effects of Catecholamines in Anesthetized Piglets

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We studied cardiac and peripheral circulatory effects of graded doses of catecholamines (0.05-1.0 μkg) in piglets aged £ 1 day, 2-4 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, and 2.5-3 months, under anesthesia with pentobarbital. We evaluated cardiovascular function from simultaneous recordings of aortic pressure, ventricular pressure and its first derivative, heart rate, and phasic carotid and femoral blood flows. We calculated vascular resistance as the ratio of mean aortic pressure to mean flow. The age of onset of a given cardiovascular response was determined, and magnitudes of each type of response were compared among the age groups. Norepinephrine elevated the blood pressure at all doses in piglets of all ages, elicited reflex bradycardia only in older piglets, and increased carotid resistance. Epinephrine elevated the blood pressure at all doses in piglets less than 1 week old, but low doses lowered the blood pressure in piglets older than 1 week of age; resistance changes in the femoral and carotid circulations were variable except in the 2.5-3 month age group. Isoproterenol increased cardiac contractility at all doses in piglets of all ages and increased heart rate at low doses in piglets older than 2 days of age; however, blood pressure and femoral resistance decreases were age and dose dependent. There were age-related differences in the catecholamine dose required to elicit a given cardiac or peripheral circulatory effect and age-related differences in the direction and magnitude of such effects. These results provide evidence for differing rates of postnatal maturation of cardiovascularα and β adrenergic mechanisms in swine. Ore Res 45: 282-292, 1979

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