Morphological Aspects of Myocardial Lesions Associated with Stress

  • Victor J. Ferrans
  • John F. Van Vleet
Part of the Developments in Cardiovascular Medicine book series (DICM, volume 45)


The nervous system can influence the cardiovascular system by means of changes in cardiac rate and rhythm, cardiac contractility, and vascular effects on the systemic and pulmonary circulation. These effects are mediated by the release of neurotransmitters, including catecholamines, capable of modulating the function of cardiac muscle cells and vascular smooth muscle cells. It is known that the administration of large doses of catecholamines, such as norepinephrine, epinephrine and isoproterenol, can produce myocardial necrosis. It also has become evident that massive release of catecholamines from endogenous stores can occur in stress and in conditions of disturbed function of the nervous system, and that such a release is also capable of inducing myocardial necrosis. The purpose of this communication is to survey the morphological aspects of myocardial lesions associated with stress and with other types of alterations in the nervous system. As an introduction to this survey, it is useful to review the morphological characteristics of the two major types of cardiac necroses, i.e., coagulation necrosis and necrosis with contraction bands (Figs. 1 and 2). These are most clearly contrasted in the context of myocardial ischemia and infarction, in which they have been most extensively studied.


Myocardial Necrosis Malignant Hyperthermia Mouse Lemur Cardiac Lesion Myocardial Lesion 
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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishing, Boston 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victor J. Ferrans
  • John F. Van Vleet

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