Vagal determinants of exercise capacity.

Published online

Journal Article

Indirect measures of cardiac vagal activity are strongly associated with exercise capacity, yet a causal relationship has not been established. Here we show that in rats, genetic silencing of the largest population of brainstem vagal preganglionic neurons residing in the brainstem's dorsal vagal motor nucleus dramatically impairs exercise capacity, while optogenetic recruitment of the same neuronal population enhances cardiac contractility and prolongs exercise endurance. These data provide direct experimental evidence that parasympathetic vagal drive generated by a defined CNS circuit determines the ability to exercise. Decreased activity and/or gradual loss of the identified neuronal cell group provides a neurophysiological basis for the progressive decline of exercise capacity with aging and in diverse disease states.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Machhada, A; Trapp, S; Marina, N; Stephens, RCM; Whittle, J; Lythgoe, MF; Kasparov, S; Ackland, GL; Gourine, AV

Published Date

  • May 18, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 8 /

Start / End Page

  • 15097 -

PubMed ID

  • 28516907

Pubmed Central ID

  • 28516907

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2041-1723

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/ncomms15097


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England