Central nervous mechanisms controlling the heart during exercise
Alexander Gourine
Professor of Physiology, University College London

The autonomic nervous system controls the heart by dynamic recruitment and withdrawal of cardiac parasympathetic (vagal) and sympathetic activities. This presentation will focus on the mechanisms underlying changes in the vagal control of the heart during exercise and in response to exercise training. Experiments conducted in experimental animal models have shown robust increases in the activity of vagal preganglionic neurons during bouts of exercise, leading to activity-dependent plasticity and higher resting vagal tone. The description of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying exercise-induced functional plasticity of the vagal system will be presented. Mechanistic links between high vagal activity and superior exercise performance will be discussed. Collectively, the data obtained in recent studies suggest that vagal activity optimizes the heart rate and ventricular contractile responses during exercise.

Invited by Clément Menuet
Monday, June 19 at 11am – Inmed conference room

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