Training alters cardiac neuron sizes in Wistar rats RR de Souza, EF Gama, JM Santarém, W Jacob-Filho Biol Sport 2009; 26(3):245-254 ICID: 894788
Article type: Original article
IC™ Value: 9.80
Abstract provided by Publisher
The action of the parasympathetic nerves on the heart is made through a group of neurons located on the surface of the atria. This study evaluated the effect of a chronic training protocol on the number and sizes of the cardiac neurons of Wistar rats. Whole mount preparations of the atria of 12-month old male sedentary and trained rats (40 weeks of running on a treadmill 3 times a week, 16 m/min) were assessed for number and size (maximal cellular profile area) of the cardiac neurons. The cardiac neurons were ascertained by using the NADH-diaphorase technique that stains the cell bodies of the neurons in dark blue. The number of cardiac neurons in the trained rats (P>0.05) did not change significantly. In the sedentary group there were small, medium sized and large neurons. However there was a notable increase in the percentage of small neurons in the rats submitted to the training compared to the sedentary group (P<0.05). Previous studies have shown that electrophysiologically, the small neurons are more easily excitable than the large neurons. It is possible that the results of the present work reflect an adaptation mechanism of the cardiac neurons presumably with the objective of increasing the excitability of the neurons for the vagal action and resulting facilitation of the sinusal bradycardia observed at rest and in the exercise. We concluded that the training affects significantly the size of the cardiac neurons in Wistar rats.