The present study compared the skeletal muscle and visceral blood flow patterns elicited by electrical stimulation of the hypothalamic defense area (HDA) and the hypothalamic vigilance area (HVA) of the rabbit. Electrical stimulation of the HDA evoked a pressor response, tachycardia, hyperventilation, an increase in blood flow to the skeletal muscles and decreased blood flow to visceral organs. Stimulation of the HVA yielded a pressor response, bradycardia, inspiratory apnea and decreased blood flow to both the skeletal muscles and the viscera. Intravenous injections of atropine methyl nitrate significantly reduced the HVA-elicited bradycardia and the HDA-elicited increase in blood flow to the skeletal muscles, thereby providing evidence that the bradycardia was mediated by vagal efferents and that the rabbit has an atropine-sensitive cholinergic vasodilation system. The decrease of blood flow to the visceral organs associated with the defense reaction and vigilance reaction was reversed by intravenous injections of the alpha-1 receptor blocker prazosin.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience