Impairment of baroreceptor reflex control of heart rate but not sympathetic efferent discharge by central neuroadministration of ethanol.
We investigated the acute hemodynamic effects of ethanol microinjection into brain areas known to influence cardiovascular function and reflexes. In chloralose-anesthetized rats, ethanol had no effect on baseline mean arterial pressure, heart rate, or sympathetic efferent discharge when microinjected into the nucleus tractus solitarius, the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus, the rostral ventrolateral medulla, or the posterior hypothalamus. On the other hand, ethanol microinjection into the anterior hypothalamus caused a site-dependent pressor effect and an increase in sympathetic efferent discharge. Baroreceptor heart rate response but not sympathetic efferent discharge response was impaired by ethanol microinjection into the nucleus tractus solitarius, the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus, and the rostral ventrolateral medulla, suggesting that ethanol involves one or more of these areas in its inhibitory effect on baroreceptor heart rate response and that ethanol has a selective action on baroreceptor reflex control of heart rate. The findings that 1) the effect was dose dependent and 2) injection of ethanol outside of, or an equal volume of cerebrospinal fluid into, the nucleus tractus solitarius had no effect on the response strongly suggest that the observed effect on baroreceptor heart rate response was ethanol mediated. Ethanol microinjection into the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus impaired the heart rate response, thus raising the possibility that leakage of ethanol to that area from the nucleus tractus solitarius might have contributed to its effect. These findings show that ethanol has a pressor and sympathoexcitatory site of action within the anterior hypothalamus and that it selectively impairs baroreceptor heart rate response via a central site of action; the mechanisms by which ethanol produces these effects remain to be elucidated.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association