Reduced cholinergic sinus node restraint in hyperthyroidism.
The role of the cholinergic nervous system in the tachycardia of hyperthyroidism was investigated in this study of dogs made severely thyrotoxic by the administration of Na-L-thyroxine over a six to nine month period. Differences in heart rate between control and thyrotoxic unanesthetized dogs could be abolished by cumulative doses of intravenous atropine both before and after beta-adrenergic blockade with propranolol, and at submaximal as well as maximal heart rates. There were no differences in the heart rate response of control and thyrotoxic anesthetized dogs to vagal stimulation or to the selective injection of hypertonic saline or acetylcholine into the perfused sinus node artery. The results indicate that in addition to the direct effects of thyroid hormone on sinus node automaticity there is an abnormality in parasympathetic control of heart rate in hyperthyroidism. The data suggest that this abnormality is not due to a decreased responsiveness of the sinus node or an impaired release of the cholinergic neurotransmitter, but may reflect a reduction in cholinergic efferent activity in the thyrotoxic state.
- Copyright © 1976 by American Heart Association