Effects of atropine on the time and frequency domain estimates of blood pressure and heart rate variability in mice

Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2008 Apr;35(4):454-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.2008.04895.x.


1. Indices quantifying blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) variability have been recently developed and may be used to assess the contribution of the autonomic nervous system to cardiovascular fluctuations. 2. Cardiovascular variables were measured in eight conscious mice equipped with a BP telemetric device. Each recording session was conducted when the mice were at rest and included a control period, an injection of atropine methylnitrate (2 mg/kg) and a post-treatment recording. 3. Time domain indices were the mean pulse interval (PI) and NN (the normal-to-normal intervals), mean HR, standard deviation of PI (SDNN), the square root of the mean of the sum of the squares of differences between adjacent PI (RMSSD) and the pNN8 (NN8 count divided by the number of NN intervals). Frequency domain indices of HR variability were the low frequency (LF) zone (0.15-0.60 Hz) and the high frequency (HF, respiratory sinus arrhythmia) zone (2.5-5.0 Hz) of the PI power spectrum. The time domain index of spontaneous baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) was the slope of the linear PI and systolic BP relationship obtained using the sequence technique. The frequency domain indices of BRS were the gain of the transfer function between systolic BP and PI in the LF and HF bands. 4. Atropine markedly affected these variables, illustrating vagal predominance under resting conditions in mice. The preferable time and frequency domain indices for quantifying the vagal contribution to HR variability were the pNN8 and the LF gain.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atropine / pharmacology*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Heart Rate / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Parasympatholytics / pharmacology*
  • Time Factors


  • Parasympatholytics
  • Atropine