Afferent nerve activity was recorded from the distal ends of cut splenic nerves in pentobarbital- (35 mg/kg) anesthetized mongrel dogs (15-20 kg). Increases in splenic venous pressure (SVP) produced either by manual compression of discrete portions of the spleen or splenic contraction produced by injection of epinephrine (100 micrograms) into the splenic artery or vein of an occluded spleen produced significant increases in SVP and splenic afferent nerve activity. Increases in splenic afferent nerve activity were linearly related to increases in SVP. Histological sections of nerves from which afferent recordings were obtained demonstrated that all afferents were unmyelinated C-fibers. Electrical stimulation of the cut central end of splenic nerves resulted in marked reflex increases in both renal and cardiopulmonary sympathetic efferent nerve activity that remained elevated throughout the stimulation period. Reflex increase in cardiopulmonary sympathetic efferent nerve activity was associated with increases in right (22-45%) and left (11-19%) ventricular contractile force measured with Brodie-Walton strain gauge transducers, in heart rate (5-15 beats/min), and in blood pressure (5-10 mmHg). This study is the first to demonstrate both the existence of low-pressure baroreceptors in the spleen and that these splenic afferents can reflexly alter cardiopulmonary and renal sympathetic efferent nerve activity, heart rate, ventricular contractile force, and systemic blood pressure.
- Copyright © 1982 the American Physiological Society