Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology vol:33 issue:5-6 pages:431-9
1. The present study assesses the effects of autonomic blockade (alpha- and beta-adrenoceptor and cholinergic) on cardiovascular function studied by heart rate variability (HRV), blood pressure variability (BPV) and baroreflex sensitivity in rats using non-linear dynamics. Little is known about the influence of pharmacological autonomic nervous system interventions on non-linear cardiovascular regulatory indices. 2. In 13 conscious rats, heart rate and aortic blood pressure were measured continuously before, during and after autonomic blockade with atropine, phentolamine and propranolol. Non-linear scaling properties were studied using 1/f slope, fractal dimension and long- and short-term correlation. Non-linear complexity was described with correlation dimension, Lyapunov exponent and approximate entropy. Non-linear indices were compared with linear time and frequency domain indices. 3. Beta-adrenoceptor blockade did not alter the non-linear characteristics of HRV and BPV, although low-frequency power of HRV was depressed. Alpha-adrenoceptor blockade decreased the scaling behaviour of HRV, whereas cholinergic blockade decreased the complexity of the non-linear system of HRV. For BPV, the scaling behaviour was increased during alpha-adrenoceptor blockade and the complexity was increased during cholinergic blockade. The linear indices of HRV and BPV were decreased. 4. The present results indicate that the beta-adrenoceptor system has little involvement in the generation of non-linear HRV and BPV in rats. 5. Alpha-adrenoceptor blockade mostly influenced the scaling properties of the time series, whereas cholinergic blockade induced changes in the complexity measures. 6. The absence of the baroreflex mechanism can trigger a compensatory feed-forward system increasing the complexity of BPV.