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C Belmonte, S P Bartels, J H Liu, A H Neufeld; Effects of stimulation of the ocular sympathetic nerves on IOP and aqueous humor flow.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1987;28(10):1649-1654.
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Ocular sympathetic nerves were stimulated chronically in awake rabbits using electrodes unilaterally implanted on the cervical sympathetic trunk. IOP was measured by pneumatonometry and aqueous inflow was measured by fluorophotometry. In each animal, continuous trains of 1 msec pulses were delivered by means of a portable electrical stimulator. Experiments were spaced by 1 week recovery periods. Stimulation was varied over a range of amplitudes (5-15 V) and frequencies (3-12 Hz). Continuous sympathetic stimulation produced an immediate sharp decrease in IOP followed by a gradual rise to pre-stimulation values which were attained 60-90 min after onset. A rebound increase in IOP occurred when stimulation was terminated. The magnitude of the initial IOP drop, the delay in the return to pre-stimulation IOP, and the rebound rise in IOP subsequent to termination of electrical stimulation were proportional to the stimulation frequency. Maximal effects were observed at 12 Hz, and stimulation with 8-10 Hz for 180 min caused a sustained reduction in anterior chamber aqueous humor flow. Topical 2% phentolamine 1 hr before stimulation markedly reduced IOP and abolished the acute IOP changes observed in untreated stimulated animals. Topical 1% timolol did not affect either the initial IOP drop or the rebound; however, the IOP recovered during stimulation to values greater than pre-stimulation IOP. We conclude that in rabbits the beta-adrenergic effect of prolonged sympathetic nerve stimulation is to decrease aqueous flow. Chronic electrical stimulation in awake animals provides an experimental model for studying the role of the ocular sympathetic nerves.
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