Changes in parasympathetic system in medulla oblongata in male pigs in the course of tachycardia-induced cardiomyopathy

Alicja Tomaszek, Liliana Kiczak*, Jacek Bania, Paweł Krupa, Urszula Pasławska, Maciej Zacharski, Adrian Janiszewski, Tadeusz Stefaniak, Dorota Zyśko, Hossein Ardehali, Ewa A. Jankowska, Piotr Ponikowski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Autonomic imbalance constituting a fundamental feature of heart failure (HF) has been assessed mainly at the periphery. Changes in the functioning of autonomic centers in the brain remain unclear. We investigated the molecular elements of parasympathetic system, i.e. α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAChR) and enzymes metabolizing acetylcholine (acetylcholinesterase, AChE, choline acetyltransferase, ChAT) in medulla oblongata (MO) of male pigs with chronic tachycardia-induced cardiomyopathy. Methods: The mRNA levels of AChE, ChAT, α7nAChR and X-box binding protein 1 (spliced form, XBP1s) in MO were analyzed using qPCR, AChE and ChAT activities using spectrophotometry, proteasome activity using fluorometry, and the protein level of α7nAChR using Western blotting. Results: The development of systolic HF was accompanied by an increase in circulating catecholamines, a decrease in the AChE and α7nAChR mRNA in MO, an increase in AChE activity (all p < 0.05), and no change in either the mRNA or activity of ChAT. Both circulating catecholamine levels and AChE activity were inversely related to systolic function of left myocardial ventricle (p < 0.05). The level of α7nAChR protein in MO and its cytoplasmatic fraction were higher in pigs with moderate and severe HF as compared to the other animals (p < 0.01). There was no difference in proteasome activity in MO between diseased and healthy animals, whereas the XBP1s mRNA decreased during HF progression (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Molecular elements of parasympathetic system are changed within the medulla oblongata during the progression of systolic non-ischemic heart failure in male pigs, indicating a functional link between MO and heart in HF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-259
Number of pages7
JournalAutonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Choline acetyltransferase
  • Medulla oblongata
  • Parasympathetic system
  • Pigs
  • Tachyarrhythmic experimental model of heart failure
  • α7 acetylcholine nicotinic receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Changes in parasympathetic system in medulla oblongata in male pigs in the course of tachycardia-induced cardiomyopathy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this