Effects of psychological stress on autonomic control of heart in rats.
Exp Anim. 2004; 53(4):373-8 (ISSN: 1341-1357)
Inagaki H; Kuwahara M; Tsubone H
Department of Comparative Pathophysiology, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Japan.
The aim of this study was to examine the effects of psychological stress on autonomic control of the heart in rats. For this purpose, we evoked anxiety-like or fear-like states in rats by means of classical conditioning and examined changes in autonomic nervous activity using an implanted telemetry system and power spectral analysis of heart rate variability. Anxiety-like states resulted in a significant increase in heart rate (HR), low frequency (LF) power, and LF/HF ratio, with no change in high frequency (HF) power. Fear-like states resulted in a significant increase in HR and a significant decrease in HF power with no significant change in both LF power and LF/HF ratio, although LF/HF ratio increased slightly. These results suggest that autonomic balance becomes predominant in sympathetic nervous activity in both anxiety-like and fear-like states. These changes in rats correspond to changes which are relevant to cardiovascular diseases in humans under many kinds of psychological stress. Therefore, the experimental design of this study is a useful experimental model for investigating the effects of psychological stress on autonomic control of the heart in humans.