Premature ventricular contractions activate vagal afferents and alter autonomic tone: implications for premature ventricular contraction-induced cardiomyopathy


Mechanisms behind development of premature ventricular contraction (PVC)-induced cardiomyopathy remain unclear. PVCs may adversely modulate the autonomic nervous system to promote development of heart failure. Afferent neurons in the inferior vagal (nodose) ganglia transduce cardiac activity and modulate parasympathetic output. Effects of PVCs on cardiac parasympathetic efferent and vagal afferent neurotransmission are unknown. The purpose of this study was to evaluate effects of PVCs on vagal afferent neurotransmission and compare these effects with a known powerful autonomic modulator, myocardial ischemia. In 16 pigs, effects of variably coupled PVCs on heart rate variability (HRV) and vagal afferent neurotransmission were evaluated. Direct nodose neuronal recordings were obtained in vivo, and cardiac-related afferent neurons were identified based on their response to cardiovascular interventions, including ventricular chemical and mechanical stimuli, left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery occlusion, and variably coupled PVCs. On HRV analysis before versus after PVCs, parasympathetic tone decreased (normalized high frequency: 83.6 ± 2.8 to 72.5 ± 5.3; P < 0.05). PVCs had a powerful impact on activity of cardiac-related afferent neurons, altering activity of 51% of neurons versus 31% for LAD occlusion (P < 0.05 vs. LAD occlusion and all other cardiac interventions). Both chemosensitive and mechanosensitive neurons were activated by PVCs, and their activity remained elevated even after cessation of PVCs. Cardiac afferent neural responses to PVCs were greater than any other intervention, including ischemia of similar duration. These data suggest that even brief periods of PVCs powerfully modulate vagal afferent neurotransmission, reflexly decreasing parasympathetic efferent tone.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) are common in many patients and, at an increased burden, are known to cause heart failure. This study determined that PVCs powerfully modulate cardiac vagal afferent neurotransmission (exerting even greater effects than ventricular ischemia) and reduce parasympathetic efferent outflow to the heart. PVCs activated both mechano- and chemosensory neurons in the nodose ganglia. These peripheral neurons demonstrated adaptation in response to PVCs. This study provides additional data on the potential role of the autonomic nervous system in PVC-induced cardiomyopathy.

Published in: National Center for Biotechnology Information


Siamak Salavatian, Naoko Yamaguchi, Jonathan Hoang, Nicole Lin, Saloni Patel, Jeffrey L. Ardell, J. Andrew Armour, Marmar Vaseghi

Publication Information:

National Center for Biotechnology Information | NCBI - 2019 September
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