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The distribution of sympathetic nerve fibres in the AV node and AV bundle of the bovine heart

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The sympathetic nervous system has important effects on the properties of the heart, including the conduction of the impulse. However, it is not known how this nervous system is distributed in the atrioventricular (AV) bundle, which together with the AV node constitutes the only conduction pathway between the atria and ventricles in normal hearts. Therefore, in the present study the adrenergic innervation in the bovine AV node/AV bundle was examined by use of the glyoxylic acid induced method for histofluorescence demonstration of catecholamines. Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) histochemistry was also used. It was found that the AChE-positive nerve fascicles in these regions partly contain sympathetic nerve fibres, that sympathetic nerve fibres occur in the proximity of some of the ganglionic cells that occur outside the AV node/AV bundle, that the arteries supplying AV bundle tissue as well as AV nodal tissue have perivascular plexuses of sympathetic nerve fibres, and that there is a substantial number of sympathetic nerve fibres outside Purkinje fibre bundle surfaces. The observations give new insight into the question of the distribution of the sympathetic nerves in the AV bundle in relation to the distribution of these nerves in the AV node. Possible functional implications of the observations are discussed.

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Forsgren, S. The distribution of sympathetic nerve fibres in the AV node and AV bundle of the bovine heart. Histochem J 18, 625–638 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01675298

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  • Catecholamine
  • Sympathetic Nervous System
  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Sympathetic Nerve
  • Fibre Bundle