Role of the autonomic nervous system in the pressor response to calcium in conscious dogs

Lawrence D. Horwitz, Meyer D. Lifschitz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Summary: The effects of acute hypercalcaemia on arterial pressure and vascular tone have been poorly understood. We analysed the effect of a bolus of calcium chloride (15 mg·kg-1 iv) on arterial pressure, total peripheral resistance, and left ventricular function in 25 conscious dogs studied with or without pharmacological autonomic blockade. Without autonomic blocking drugs, the maximum response to calcium included increases of +139.4 kPa·s-1 (+1046 mmHg·s-1) in maximum rate of change of left ventricular pressure, +2.2 cm3 in stroke volume, +2.6 kPa (+19.2 mmHg) in aortic systolic pressure, and +0.6 kPa (+4.4 mmHg) in mean aortic pressure, but total peripheral resistance was unchanged. During β-adrenergic blockade with propranolol, calcium again increased maximum rate of change of pressure and stroke volume, increased mean aortic pressure (2.2 kPa [+ 16.5 mmHg]), and increased resistance by 35%, When calcium was given during α-adrenergic blockade with phenoxybenzamine or phentolamine, mean aortic pressure did not rise, and resistance fell by 19%. The calcium-induced rise in resistance during β-adrenergic blockade was abolished by surgical adrenalectomy. We conclude that excess extracellular calcium ion may influence vascular resistance by increasing autonomic nervous system excitation of α- and (β-adrenergic vascular receptors. A major mechanism by which the sympathetic nervous system effects occur is through increased release of catecholamines from the adrenal medulla.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-529
Number of pages8
JournalCardiovascular Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1980
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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