The action of angiotensin II on the baroreflex response of the conscious ewe and the conscious fetus

J Physiol. 1979 Mar;288:467-79.


1. In conscious non-pregnant and pregnant ewes and in chronic fetal lamb preparations, the beat by beat relationship between pulse interval and systolic pressure was studied during acute elevations in arterial pressure induced by phenylephrine. Baroreflex sensitivity, which was defined as the slope of the pressure-pulse interval relationship when phenylephrine was used to raise pressure, was abolished by atropine and increased by propranolol. Baroreflex sensitivity was less in pregnant ewes and in foetal lambs compared with non-pregnant ewes. 2. These findings suggest that the vagus nerve is responsible for the reflex bradycardia that occurs in the foetus and the ewe when arterial pressure is increased. 3. In both fetal and adult sheep, actue hypertension due to I.V. injection of angiotensin II was not associated with a consistent and progressive bradycardia, such as was seen with acute hypertension caused by phenylephrine. Angiotensin II has no direct chronotropic effect on heart rate in either the adult or the fetus. 4. No linear relationship between arterial pressure and pulse interval was seen when angiotensin II was used to raise pressure in sheep which were treated with propranolol. Therefore the lack of cardiac slowing with pressor doses of angiotensin II was not due to concomitant activation of the sympathoadrenal system. 5. It is concluded that in both fetal and adult sheep angiotensin II reduces the increase in vagal tone which is responsible for slowing of heart rate in response to acute rises in arterial pressure.

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Female
  • Fetal Heart / drug effects
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Phenylephrine / pharmacology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pressoreceptors / drug effects
  • Pressoreceptors / embryology
  • Pressoreceptors / physiology*
  • Reflex / drug effects
  • Reflex / physiology
  • Sheep
  • Systole / drug effects


  • Angiotensin II
  • Phenylephrine