Acute alcohol administration stimulates baroreceptor discharge in the dog

W. Wang, M. Brandle, I. H. Zucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


It has been shown that alcohol administration causes baroreceptor reflex inhibition. The site of action of alcohol could reside anywhere within the baroreceptor reflex arc. Therefore, the goal of this study was to determine the effects of acute administration of alcohol on carotid sinus baroreceptor discharge characteristics. In pentobarbital-anesthetized dogs, the carotid sinus was isolated and perfused. Single unit baroreceptor discharge was recorded from the carotid sinus nerve along with carotid sinus diameter using sonomicrometry. Carotid sinus pressure-baroreceptor discharge and carotid sinus pressure-diameter curves were constructed. Perfusion of the carotid sinus with alcohol (100 mmol/L) significantly decreased the pressure threshold from 91.1±2.8 to 86.4±2.9 mm Hg (p<0.05) and increased the peak discharge rate from 45.8±3.4 to 52.8±3.6 spikes per second (p<0.01). The same phenomenon was seen during perfusion of the carotid sinus with acetaldehyde (2.5 mmol/L) but was not seen during perfusion with acetate (2.5 mmol/L). During perfusion of the carotid sinus with alcohol, the carotid sinus pressure-carotid sinus diameter relation did not change. The baroreceptor sensitization induced by alcohol is not an endothelium-dependent mechanism, because endothelial denudation did not block this alcohol-induced effect. Measurement of the duration of postexcitatory depression of carotid sinus baroreceptors, which is related to Na+ ,K+-ATPase activity, showed that perfusion of the carotid sinus with alcohol or acetaldehyde significantly reduced the duration of postexcitatory depression, indicating that the alcohol- and acetaldehyde-induced effect on baroreceptor discharge is most likely mediated by an inhibition of Na+ ,K+-ATPaSe. These data strongly suggest that the inhibition of the baroreceptor reflex after acute alcohol administration does not reside in the afferent limb of the baroreceptor reflex arc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-694
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1993


  • Acetaldehyde
  • Adenosine triphosphatase, sodium, potassium
  • Alcohol, ethyl
  • Pressoreceptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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