The present study was undertaken to determine if electrical stimulation of the hypothalamic defense area (HDA) and baroreflex activation elicited by head up body tilt produced changes in plasma catecholamine (CA) levels in anesthetized rabbits. We also compared the effects of two anesthetics, isoflurane and sodium pentobarbital, upon basal and reactive CA levels, and upon autonomic reactivity. HDA stimulation was found to produce significant increases in plasma norepinephrine (NE) levels but not epinephrine (E) levels. Passive tilt was found to produce statistically significant increases in NE levels for both anesthetics used and a significant increase in E levels for animals anesthetized with isoflurane. Basal and reactive measurements provided evidence that pentobarbital has a more suppressive effect upon the autonomic nervous system than isoflurane: (a) Basal NE levels were significantly lower in pentobarbital-anesthetized animals than in isoflurane-anesthetized animals; and (b) Baroreceptor sensitivity to a passive tilt stressor was significantly higher for animals anesthetized with isoflurane than for animals anesthetized with pentobarbital.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience