Sympathoinhibitory effects of atrial natriuretic factor in normal humans.
In rats, atrial natriuretic factor (ANF) reduces sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) reflexively by sensitizing cardiac mechanoreceptors with inhibitory vagal afferents. We performed three series of experiments in 26 normal young men to document whether ANF inhibits SNA in humans and if so, to determine potential mechanisms for this phenomenon. First, we recorded muscle SNA before and during brief infusions of ANF, vehicle (saline solution), and sodium nitroprusside, titrated to achieve reductions similar to those produced by ANF in diastolic pressure and central venous pressure, and we also assessed the effect of ANF on sympathetic nerve responses to a cold pressor test (CPT). Second, we determined the effect of ANF on Doppler-derived measurements of cardiac output and responses to hypotensive (-40 mm Hg) lower-body negative pressure (LBNP) and its sudden cessation. Third, we applied nonhypotensive (-15 mm Hg) LBNP to selectively unload cardiopulmonary baroreceptors, and we released LBNP to stimulate these inhibitory afferents during sequential infusions of nitroglycerin, vehicle (saline solution), and ANF. Our key findings were that 1) reductions in arterial and central venous pressures during ANF infusion were not accompanied by anticipated reflex increases in muscle SNA; 2) ANF blunted the increase in SNA with CPT; 3) ANF increased stroke volume and cardiac output; and 4) sympathoneural responses to both the application and the sudden cessation of nonhypotensive LBNP were attenuated, not augmented, by ANF. Changes in plasma norepinephrine concentrations reflected these sympathetic nerve responses to ANF. These results do not support the concept that ANF inhibits sympathetic outflow reflexively in humans by increasing discharge from cardiac mechanoreceptors with inhibitory vagal afferents but are consistent with either a central or a ganglionic sympathoinhibitory action of ANF. ANF could facilitate hypotension and natriuresis in humans by attenuating the reflex sympathetic response to baroreceptor deactivation.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association