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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

Print version ISSN 0100-879XOn-line version ISSN 1414-431X


ROMERO, S.M.B.  and  HOFFMANN, A.. Role of the cardiac nerve in the adaptive changes of heart rate in response to an aversive stimulus in Megalobulimus mogianensis. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2008, vol.41, n.5, pp.432-436. ISSN 1414-431X.

The effect of an aversive stimulus represented by contact with a hot plate on the heart rate of Megalobulimus mogianensis was evaluated with electrocardiogram recording in intact snails (N = 8). All stimulated animals showed an increase in heart rate, with mean values ranging from 35.6 ± 1.2 (basal heart rate) to 43.8 ± 0.9 bpm (post-stimulation heart rate). The cardioacceleration was followed by gradual recovery of the basal heart rate, with mean recovery times varying from 4.3 ± 0.3 to 5.8 ± 0.6 min. Repetition of the stimulus did not affect the magnitude of variation nor did it influence the basal heart rate recovery time. To investigate the role of the cardiac nerve in mediating the heart rate alterations induced by the aversive stimulus, denervated (N = 8) and sham-operated (N = 8) animals were also tested. Although the aversive stimulus caused the heart rate to increase significantly in both experimental groups, the mean increase in heart rate in denervated animals (4.4 ± 0.4 bpm) was 57% of the value obtained in sham-operated animals (7.7 ± 1.3 bpm), indicating that the cardiac nerve is responsible for 43% of the cardioacceleration induced by the aversive stimulus. The cardioacceleration observed in denervated snails may be due to an increase in venous return promoted by the intense muscular activity associated with the withdrawal response. Humoral factors may also be involved. A probable delaying inhibitory effect of the cardiac nerve on the recuperation of the basal heart rate is suggested.

Keywords : Aversive stimulus; Cardiac nerve; Heart rate; Snail; Megalobulimus mogianensis.

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