Heart failure decreases nerve activity in the right atrial ganglionated plexus

Tetsuji Shinohara, Mark J. Shen, Seongwook Han, Mitsunori Maruyama, Hyung Wook Park, Michael C. Fishbein, Changyu Shen, Peng Sheng Chen, Shien-Fong Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Reduced Vagal Control in Heart Failure. Objective: We tested the hypothesis that heart failure (HF) results in right atrial ganglionated plexus (RAGP) denervation that contributes to sinoatrial node dysfunction. Background: HF is associated with sinoatrial node dysfunction. However, the detailed mechanisms remain unclear. Methods: We recorded nerve activity (NA) from the RAGP, right stellate ganglion (SG), and right vagal nerve in 7 ambulatory dogs at baseline and after pacing-induced HF. We also determined the effects of RAGP stimulation in isolated normal and HF canine RA. Results: NAs in both the SG and vagal were significantly higher in HF than at baseline. The relationship between 1-minute integrated NAs of vagal and RAGP showed either a positive linear correlation (Group 1, n = 4) or an L-shaped correlation (Group 2, n = 3). In all dogs, a reduced heart rate was observed when vagal-NA was associated with simultaneously increased RAGP-NA. On the other hand, when vagal-NA was not associated with increased RAGP-NA, the heart rate was not reduced. The induction of HF significantly decreased RAGP-NA in all dogs (P < 0.05). Stimulating the superior RAGP in isolated RA significantly reduced the sinus rate in normal but not the HF hearts. Immunohistochemical staining revealed lower densities of tyrosine hydroxylase- and choline acetyltransferase-positive nerve tissues in HF RAGP than normal (P < 0.001 and P = 0.001, respectively). Conclusions: The RAGP-NA is essential for the vagal nerve to counterbalance the SG in sinus rate control. In HF, RAGP denervation and decreased RAGP-NA contribute to the sinus node dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-412
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of cardiovascular electrophysiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2012


  • autonomic
  • heart failure
  • nervous system
  • sinoatrial node

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