[Autonomic contribution to the blood pressure and heart rate variability changes in early experimental hyperthyroidism].Arch Mal Coeur Vaiss. 1998 Aug; 91(8):1003-7.AM
A great deal of uncertainty persists regarding the exact nature of the interaction between autonomic nervous activity and thyroid hormones in the control of heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP). Thyrotoxicosis was produced by a daily intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of L-thyroxine (0.5 mg/kg body wt in 1 ml of 5 mM NaOH for 5 days). Control rats received i.p. daily injections of the thyroxine solvant. Autonomic blockers were administered intravenously: atropine (0.5 mg/kg), atenolol (1 mg/kg), atenolol + atropine or prazosin (1 mg/kg). Eight animals were studied in each group. Thyroxine treatment was sufficient to induce a significant degree of tachycardia (423 +/- 6 vs 353 +/- 4 bpm; p < 0.001, unpaired Student's tests), systolic BP elevation (142 +/- 3 vs 127 +/- 2 mmHg; p < 0.001), pulse pressure increase (51 +/- 2 vs 41 +/- 2 mmHg, p < 0.01), cardiac hypertrophy (1.165 +/- 0.017 vs 1.006 +/- 0.012 g, p < 0.001), weight loss (-21 +/- 2 g; p < 0.001) and hyperthermia (37.8 +/- 0.1 vs 37.0 +/- 0.1 degrees C, p < 0.001). The intrinsic HR observed after double blockade (atenolol + atropine) was markedly increased after treatment with thyroxine (497 +/- 16 vs 373 +/- 10 bpm, p < 0.05). Vagal tone (difference between HR obtained after atenolol and intrinsic HR) was positively linearly related to intrinsic HR (r = 0.84; p < 0.01). Atenolol neither modified HR nor BP variability in rats with hyperthyrodism. The thyrotoxicosis was associated with a reduction of the 0.4 Hz component of BP variability (analyses on 102.4 sec segments, modulus 1.10 +/- 0.07 vs 1.41 +/- 0.06 mmHg; p < 0.01). Prazosin was without effect on this 0.4 Hz component in these animals. These data show a functional diminution of the vascular and cardiac sympathetic tone in experimental hyperthyroidism. Increased intrinsic HR resulting from the direct effect of thyroid hormone on the sinoatrial node is the main determinant of a tachycardia leading to a subsequent rise in cardiac output. The resulting BP elevation could reflexly induce a vagal activation and a sympathetic (vascular and cardiac) inhibition.