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Immediate and sustained increases in the activity of vagal preganglionic neurons during exercise and after exercise training

Korsak, Alla; Kellett, Daniel O; Aziz, Qadeer; Anderson, Cali; D'Souza, Alicia; Tinker, Andrew; Ackland, Gareth L; (2023) Immediate and sustained increases in the activity of vagal preganglionic neurons during exercise and after exercise training. Cardiovascular Research , Article cvad115. 10.1093/cvr/cvad115. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: The brain controls the heart by dynamic recruitment and withdrawal of cardiac parasympathetic (vagal) and sympathetic activity. Autonomic control is essential for the development of cardiovascular responses during exercise, however, the patterns of changes in the activity of the two autonomic limbs, and their functional interactions in orchestrating physiological responses during exercise, are not fully understood. METHODS AND RESULTS: The aim of this study was to characterise changes in vagal parasympathetic drive in response to exercise and exercise training by directly recording the electrical activity of vagal preganglionic neurons in experimental animals (rats). Single unit recordings were made using carbon-fibre microelectrodes from the populations of vagal preganglionic neurons of the nucleus ambiguus and the dorsal vagal motor nucleus of the brainstem.It was found that (i) vagal preganglionic neurons of the nucleus ambiguus and the dorsal vagal motor nucleus are strongly activated during bouts of acute exercise, and (ii) exercise training markedly increases the resting activity of both populations of vagal preganglionic neurons and augments the excitatory responses of nucleus ambiguus neurons during exercise. CONCLUSIONS: These data show that central vagal drive increases during exercise and provide the first direct neurophysiological evidence that exercise training increases vagal tone. The data argue against the notion of exercise-induced central vagal withdrawal during exercise. We propose that robust increases in the activity of vagal preganglionic neurons during bouts of exercise underlie activity-dependent plasticity, leading to higher resting vagal tone that confers multiple health benefits associated with regular exercise.

Type: Article
Title: Immediate and sustained increases in the activity of vagal preganglionic neurons during exercise and after exercise training
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/cvr/cvad115
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvad115
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Neuro, Physiology and Pharmacology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10174509
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