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Autonomic and cardiovascular consequences resulting from experimental hemorrhagic stroke in the left or right intermediate insular cortex in rats

      Abstract

      Damage to the insular cortex (IC) results in serious cardiovascular consequences and evidence indicates that the characteristics are lateralized. However, a study comparing the effects of focal experimental hemorrhage between IC sides was never performed. We compared the cardiovascular, autonomic and cardiac changes produced by focal experimental hemorrhage (ICH) into the left (L) or right (R) IC. Wistar rats were submitted to microinjection of autologous blood (ICH) or saline (n = 6 each side/group) into the R or L IC. Blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR) and renal sympathetic activity (RSNA) were recorded. Measurements of calcium transient and sarcoplasmic Ca2+ ATPase expression in cardiomyocytes were performed. ICH increased baseline HR (Δ:L-ICH 452 ± 13 vs saline 407 ± 11 bpm; R-ICH 450 ± 7 vs saline 406 ± 8 bpm, P < 0.05) without changing BP. HR was restored to baseline levels after i.v. atenolol. Strikingly, ICH rats presented a reduced baseline RSNA (Δ:L-ICH 122 ± 4 vs saline 148 ± 11 spikes/s; R-ICH 112 ± 5 vs saline 148 ± 7 spikes/s, P < 0.05). After 24 h of ICH we observed a marked increase in cardiac ectopies and this number was greater after ICH R-IC. Heart weight, calcium amplitude and SERCA expression were reduced only in ICH R-IC. Focal stroke into IC can alter the cardiac and renal autonomic control. Damage to the R-IC produces a greater number of arrhythmias and changes in calcium dynamics in cardiac cells indicating that the cardiovascular consequences are hemisphere-dependent. These findings confirm asymmetry for cardiac autonomic control at the IC and help to understand the cardiac and renal implications observed after specific side cortical damage.

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