Differential interaction of adrenergic and cholinergic effects on AV junctional automaticity and AV conduction

Academic Article


  • The effects of postsynaptic autonomic interactions on atrioventricular (AV) junctional automaticity and AV conduction were studied in six canine heart in situ using direct injections of norepinephrine (NE) and physostigmine (PSM) into the AV node artery. Injection of NE (0.05 μg/ml, 2 ml) caused an AV junctional rhythm (AVJR) in every dog. After injection of PSM (10 μg/ml, 2 ml), the responses of AVJR to NE were virtually identical to those observed before cholinesterase inhibition (160 ± 13 vs 162 ± 12 bpm). In contrast, this moderate cholinesterase inhibition still had a readily demonstrable negative dromotropic effect. In any given dog, depressed AV conduction was characterized by one of two types (I and II) of retrograde atrial capture during AVJR. Before PSM in the AV junction, onset of atrial depolarization during AVJR preceded the onset of ventricular depolarization in both type I and type II responses. After PSM, atrial depolarization occurred later with respect to ventricular depolarization (i.e., during or mostly after ventricular activation) in type I, whereas in the type II responses atrial depolarizations began much earlier than before PSM, thus being completed long before the onset of ventricular activation. Because of such differential responsiveness of AV junctional automaticity and AV conduction and because of the two types of intranodal conduction observed after administration of PSM into the AV junction, we can postulate that under appropriate autonomic imbalance retrograde or antegrade AV block could readily develop in spite of preserved AV junctional automaticity. © 1986.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Urthaler F; Neely BH; Hageman GR
  • Start Page

  • 765
  • End Page

  • 770
  • Volume

  • 112
  • Issue

  • 4