GUYTON PHYSIOLOGY : GUYTON AND HALL TEXTBOOK OF MEDICAL

Download Guyton and Hall. Textbook of Medical Physiology. John E. Hall, Ph.D. Arthur C. Guyton Professor and Chair. Depa...

0 downloads 325 Views 54MB Size
Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology

This page intentionally left blank

Twelfth Edition

Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology John E. Hall, Ph.D. Arthur C. Guyton Professor and Chair Department of Physiology and Biophysics Associate Vice Chancellor for Research University of Mississippi Medical Center Jackson, Mississippi

1600 John F. Kennedy Blvd. Ste 1800 Philadelphia, PA 19103-2899

TEXTBOOK OF MEDICAL PHYSIOLOGY 

ISBN: 978-1-4160-4574-8 International Edition: 978-0-8089-2400-5

Copyright © 2011, 2006, 2000, 1996, 1991, 1986, 1981, 1976, 1966, 1961, 1956 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Permissions may be sought directly from Elsevier’s Rights Department: phone: (+1) 215 239 3804 (US) or (+44) 1865 843830 (UK); fax: (+44) 1865 853333; e-mail: [email protected] You may also complete your request on-line via the Elsevier website at http://www.elsevier.com/permissions.

Notice

Knowledge and best practice in this field are constantly changing. As new research and experience broaden our knowledge, changes in practice, treatment, and drug therapy may become necessary or ­appropriate. Readers are advised to check the most current information provided (i) on procedures ­featured or (ii) by the manufacturer of each product to be administered, to verify the recommended dose or formula, the method and duration of administration, and contraindications. It is the responsibility of the practitioner, relying on his or her experience and knowledge of the patient, to make diagnoses, to determine dosages and the best treatment for each individual patient, and to take all appropriate safety precautions. To the fullest extent of the law, neither the Publisher nor the Author assume any liability for any injury and/or damage to persons or property arising out of or related to any use of the material contained in this book. The Publisher Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Hall, John E. (John Edward), 1946  Guyton and Hall textbook of medical physiology / John Hall. – 12th ed.    p. ; cm.   Rev. ed. of: Textbook of medical physiology. 11th ed. c2006.   Includes bibliographical references and index.   ISBN 978-1-4160-4574-8 (alk. paper)   1. Human physiology. 2. Physiology, Pathological. I. Guyton, Arthur C. II.   Textbook of medical physiology. III. Title. IV. Title: Textbook of medical physiology. [DNLM: 1. Physiological Phenomena. QT 104 H1767g 2011] QP34.5.G9 2011 612–dc22

Publishing Director: William Schmitt Developmental Editor: Rebecca Gruliow Editorial Assistant: Laura Stingelin Publishing Services Manager: Linda Van Pelt Project Manager: Frank Morales Design Manager: Steve Stave Illustrator: Michael Schenk Marketing Manager: Marla Lieberman

Printed in the United States of America Last digit is the print number:  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1

2009035327

To

My Family For their abundant support, for their patience and understanding, and for their love

To Arthur C. Guyton For his imaginative and innovative research For his dedication to education For showing us the excitement and joy of physiology And for serving as an inspirational role model

This page intentionally left blank

Preface The first edition of the Textbook of Medical Physiology was written by Arthur C. Guyton almost 55 years ago. Unlike most major medical textbooks, which often have 20 or more authors, the first eight editions of the Textbook of Medical Physiology were written entirely by Dr. Guyton, with each new edition arriving on schedule for nearly 40 years. The Textbook of Medical Physiology, first published in 1956, quickly became the best-selling medical physiology textbook in the world. Dr. Guyton had a gift for communicating complex ideas in a clear and interesting manner that made studying physiology fun. He wrote the book to help students learn physiology, not to impress his professional colleagues. I worked closely with Dr. Guyton for almost 30 years and had the privilege of writing parts of the 9th and 10th editions. After Dr. Guyton’s tragic death in an automobile accident in 2003, I assumed responsibility for completing the 11th edition. For the 12th edition of the Textbook of Medical Physiology, I have the same goal as for previous editions— to explain, in language easily understood by students, how the different cells, tissues, and organs of the human body work together to maintain life. This task has been challenging and fun because our rapidly increasing knowledge of physiology continues to unravel new mysteries of body functions. Advances in molecular and cellular physiology have made it possible to explain many physiology principles in the terminology of molecular and physical sciences rather than in merely a series of separate and unexplained biological phenomena. The Textbook of Medical Physiology, however, is not a reference book that attempts to provide a compendium of the most recent advances in physiology. This is a book that continues the tradition of being written for students. It focuses on the basic principles of physiology needed to begin a career in the health care professions, such as medicine, dentistry and nursing, as well as graduate studies in the biological and health sciences. It should also be useful to physicians and health care professionals who wish to review the basic ­principles needed for understanding the pathophysiology of human disease.

I have attempted to maintain the same unified organization of the text that has been useful to students in the past and to ensure that the book is comprehensive enough that students will continue to use it during their ­professional careers. My hope is that this textbook conveys the majesty of the human body and its many functions and that it stimulates students to study physiology throughout their careers. Physiology is the link between the basic sciences and medicine. The great beauty of physiology is that it integrates the individual functions of all the body’s different cells, tissues, and organs into a functional whole, the human body. Indeed, the human body is much more than the sum of its parts, and life relies upon this total function, not just on the function of individual body parts in isolation from the others. This brings us to an important question: How are the separate organs and systems coordinated to maintain proper function of the entire body? Fortunately, our bodies are endowed with a vast network of feedback controls that achieve the necessary balances without which we would be unable to live. Physiologists call this high level of internal bodily control homeostasis. In disease states, functional balances are often seriously disturbed and homeostasis is impaired. When even a single disturbance reaches a limit, the whole body can no longer live. One of the goals of this text, therefore, is to emphasize the effectiveness and beauty of the body’s homeostasis mechanisms as well as to present their abnormal functions in disease. Another objective is to be as accurate as possible. Suggestions and critiques from many students, physiologists, and clinicians throughout the world have been sought and then used to check factual accuracy as well as balance in the text. Even so, because of the likelihood of error in sorting through many thousands of bits of information, I wish to issue a further request to all readers to send along notations of error or inaccuracy. Physiologists understand the importance of feedback for proper function of the human body; so, too, is feedback important for progressive improvement of a textbook of physiology. To the many persons who have already helped, I express sincere thanks. vii

Preface

A brief explanation is needed about several features of the 12th edition. Although many of the chapters have been revised to include new principles of physiology, the text length has been closely monitored to limit the book size so that it can be used effectively in physiology courses for medical students and health care professionals. Many of the figures have also been redrawn and are in full color. New references have been chosen primarily for their ­presentation of physiologic principles, for the quality of their own references, and for their easy accessibility. The selected biblio­ graphy at the end of the chapters lists papers mainly from recently published scientific journals that can be freely accessed from the PubMed internet site at http://www. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez/. Use of these references, as well as cross-references from them, can give the student almost complete coverage of the entire field of physiology. The effort to be as concise as possible has, unfortunately, necessitated a more simplified and dogmatic presentation of many physiologic principles than I normally would have desired. However, the bibliography can be used to learn more about the controversies and unanswered questions that remain in understanding the ­complex functions of the human body in health and disease. Another feature is that the print is set in two sizes. The material in large print constitutes the fundamental physiologic information that students will require in virtually all of their medical activities and studies. The material in small print is of several different kinds: first, anatomic, chemical, and other information that is

viii

needed for immediate discussion but that most students will learn in more detail in other courses; second, physiologic information of special importance to certain fields of clinical medicine; and, third, information that will be of value to those students who may wish to study particular physiologic mechanisms more deeply. I wish to express sincere thanks to many ­persons who have helped to prepare this book, including my ­colleagues in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center who provided valuable suggestions. The members of our faculty and a brief description of the research and educational activities of the department can be found at the web site: http:// physiology.umc.edu/. I am also grateful to Stephanie Lucas and Courtney Horton Graham for their excellent secretarial services, to Michael Schenk and Walter (Kyle) Cunningham for their expert artwork, and to William Schmitt, Rebecca Gruliow, Frank Morales, and the entire Elsevier Saunders team for continued editorial and ­production excellence. Finally, I owe an enormous debt to Arthur Guyton for the great privilege of contributing to the Textbook of Medical Physiology, for an exciting career in physiology, for his friendship, and for the inspiration that he provided to all who knew him.

John E. Hall

Contents UNIT I

Apoptosis—Programmed Cell Death Cancer

Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology

40 40

UNIT II CHAPTER 1 Functional Organization of the Human Body and Control of the “Internal Environment” Cells as the Living Units of the Body Extracellular Fluid—The “Internal Environment” “Homeostatic” Mechanisms of the Major Functional Systems Control Systems of the Body Summary—Automaticity of the Body CHAPTER 2 The Cell and Its Functions Organization of the Cell Physical Structure of the Cell Comparison of the Animal Cell with Precellular Forms of Life Functional Systems of the Cell Locomotion of Cells CHAPTER 3 Genetic Control of Protein Synthesis, Cell Function, and Cell Reproduction Genes in the Cell Nucleus The DNA Code in the Cell Nucleus Is Transferred to an RNA Code in the Cell Cytoplasm—The Process of Transcription Synthesis of Other Substances in the Cell Control of Gene Function and Biochemical Activity in Cells The DNA-Genetic System Also Controls Cell Reproduction Cell Differentiation

Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle 3 3 3 4 6 9 11 11 12 17 18 23

27 27 30 35 35 37 39

CHAPTER 4 Transport of Substances Through Cell Membranes The Lipid Barrier of the Cell Membrane, and Cell Membrane Transport Proteins Diffusion “Active Transport” of Substances Through Membranes CHAPTER 5 Membrane Potentials and Action Potentials Basic Physics of Membrane Potentials Measuring the Membrane Potential Resting Membrane Potential of Nerves Nerve Action Potential Roles of Other Ions During the Action Potential Propagation of the Action Potential Re-establishing Sodium and Potassium Ionic Gradients After Action Potentials Are Completed—Importance of Energy Metabolism Plateau in Some Action Potentials Rhythmicity of Some Excitable Tissues— Repetitive Discharge Special Characteristics of Signal Transmission in Nerve Trunks Excitation—The Process of Eliciting the Action Potential Recording Membrane Potentials and Action Potentials

45 45 46 52 57 57 58 59 60 64 64

65 66 66 67 68 69

ix

Contents

CHAPTER 6 Contraction of Skeletal Muscle Physiologic Anatomy of Skeletal Muscle General Mechanism of Muscle Contraction Molecular Mechanism of Muscle Contraction Energetics of Muscle Contraction Characteristics of Whole Muscle Contraction CHAPTER 7 Excitation of Skeletal Muscle: Neuromuscular Transmission and Excitation-Contraction Coupling Transmission of Impulses from Nerve Endings to Skeletal Muscle Fibers: The Neuromuscular Junction Molecular Biology of Acetylcholine Formation and Release Drugs That Enhance or Block Transmission at the Neuromuscular Junction Myasthenia Gravis Causes Muscle Paralysis Muscle Action Potential Excitation-Contraction Coupling

CHAPTER 11 71 71 73 74 78 79

83 83 86 86 86 87 88

CHAPTER 8 Excitation and Contraction of Smooth Muscle 91 Contraction of Smooth Muscle 91 Nervous and Hormonal Control of Smooth Muscle Contraction 94 UNIT III

The Heart CHAPTER 9 Cardiac Muscle; The Heart as a Pump and Function of the Heart Valves Physiology of Cardiac Muscle Cardiac Cycle Relationship of the Heart Sounds to Heart Pumping Work Output of the Heart Chemical Energy Required for Cardiac Contraction: Oxygen Utilization by the Heart Regulation of Heart Pumping CHAPTER 10 Rhythmical Excitation of the Heart Specialized Excitatory and Conductive System of the Heart Control of Excitation and Conduction in the Heart x

101 101 104 107 107 109 110 115 115 118

The Normal Electrocardiogram Characteristics of the Normal Electrocardiogram Methods for Recording Electrocardiograms Flow of Current Around the Heart during the Cardiac Cycle Electrocardiographic Leads CHAPTER 12 Electrocardiographic Interpretation of Cardiac Muscle and Coronary Blood Flow Abnormalities: Vectorial Analysis Principles of Vectorial Analysis of Electrocardiograms Vectorial Analysis of the Normal Electrocardiogram Mean Electrical Axis of the Ventricular QRS—and Its Significance Conditions That Cause Abnormal Voltages of the QRS Complex Prolonged and Bizarre Patterns of the QRS Complex Current of Injury Abnormalities in the T Wave CHAPTER 13 Cardiac Arrhythmias and Their Electrocardiographic Interpretation Abnormal Sinus Rhythms Abnormal Rhythms That Result from Block of Heart Signals Within the Intracardiac Conduction Pathways Premature Contractions Paroxysmal Tachycardia Ventricular Fibrillation Atrial Fibrillation Atrial Flutter Cardiac Arrest

121 121 123 123 124

129 129 131 134 137 137 138 141

143 143 144 146 148 149 151 152 153

UNIT IV

The Circulation CHAPTER 14 Overview of the Circulation; Biophysics of Pressure, Flow, and Resistance Physical Characteristics of the Circulation Basic Principles of Circulatory Function Interrelationships of Pressure, Flow, and Resistance

157 157 158 159

  Contents

CHAPTER 15 Vascular Distensibility and Functions of the Arterial and Venous Systems Vascular Distensibility Arterial Pressure Pulsations Veins and Their Functions CHAPTER 16 The Microcirculation and Lymphatic System: Capillary Fluid Exchange, Interstitial Fluid, and Lymph Flow Structure of the Microcirculation and Capillary System Flow of Blood in the Capillaries— Vasomotion Exchange of Water, Nutrients, and Other Substances Between the Blood and Interstitial Fluid Interstitium and Interstitial Fluid Fluid Filtration Across Capillaries Is Determined by Hydrostatic and Colloid Osmotic Pressures, as Well as Capillary Filtration Coefficient Lymphatic System CHAPTER 17 Local and Humoral Control of Tissue Blood Flow Local Control of Blood Flow in Response to Tissue Needs Mechanisms of Blood Flow Control Humoral Control of the Circulation CHAPTER 18 Nervous Regulation of the Circulation, and Rapid Control of Arterial Pressure Nervous Regulation of the Circulation Role of the Nervous System in Rapid Control of Arterial Pressure Special Features of Nervous Control of Arterial Pressure CHAPTER 19 Role of the Kidneys in Long-Term Control of Arterial Pressure and in Hypertension: The Integrated System for Arterial Pressure Regulation Renal–Body Fluid System for Arterial Pressure Control The Renin-Angiotensin System: Its Role in Arterial Pressure Control Summary of the Integrated, Multifaceted System for Arterial Pressure Regulation

167 167 168 171

177 177 178 179 180

181 186

191 191 191 199

201 201 204 209

213 213 220 226

CHAPTER 20 Cardiac Output, Venous Return, and Their Regulation Normal Values for Cardiac Output at Rest and During Activity Control of Cardiac Output by Venous Return—Role of the Frank-Starling Mechanism of the Heart Pathologically High or Low Cardiac Outputs Methods for Measuring Cardiac Output CHAPTER 21 Muscle Blood Flow and Cardiac Output During Exercise; the Coronary Circulation and Ischemic Heart Disease Blood Flow Regulation in Skeletal Muscle at Rest and During Exercise Coronary Circulation CHAPTER 22 Cardiac Failure Circulatory Dynamics in Cardiac Failure Unilateral Left Heart Failure Low-Output Cardiac Failure— Cardiogenic Shock Edema in Patients with Cardiac Failure Cardiac Reserve CHAPTER 23 Heart Valves and Heart Sounds; Valvular and Congenital Heart Defects Heart Sounds Abnormal Circulatory Dynamics in Valvular Heart Disease Abnormal Circulatory Dynamics in Congenital Heart Defects Use of Extracorporeal Circulation During Cardiac Surgery Hypertrophy of the Heart in Valvular and Congenital Heart Disease CHAPTER 24 Circulatory Shock and Its Treatment Physiologic Causes of Shock Shock Caused by Hypovolemia— Hemorrhagic Shock Neurogenic Shock—Increased Vascular Capacity Anaphylactic Shock and Histamine Shock Septic Shock

229 229 229 232 240

243 243 246 255 255 259 259 259 261

265 265 268 269 271 272 273 273 274 279 280 280 xi

Contents

Physiology of Treatment in Shock Circulatory Arrest

280 281

UNIT V

The Body Fluids and Kidneys CHAPTER 25 The Body Fluid Compartments: Extracellular and Intracellular Fluids; Edema Fluid Intake and Output Are Balanced During Steady-State Conditions Body Fluid Compartments Extracellular Fluid Compartment Blood Volume Constituents of Extracellular and Intracellular Fluids Measurement of Fluid Volumes in the Different Body Fluid Compartments—the IndicatorDilution Principle Determination of Volumes of Specific Body Fluid Compartments Regulation of Fluid Exchange and Osmotic Equilibrium Between Intracellular and Extracellular Fluid Basic Principles of Osmosis and Osmotic Pressure Osmotic Equilibrium Is Maintained Between Intracellular and Extracellular Fluids Volume and Osmolality of Extracellular and Intracellular Fluids in Abnormal States Glucose and Other Solutions Administered for Nutritive Purposes Clinical Abnormalities of Fluid Volume Regulation: Hyponatremia and Hypernatremia Edema: Excess Fluid in the Tissues Fluids in the “Potential Spaces” of the Body CHAPTER 26 Urine Formation by the Kidneys: I. Glomerular Filtration, Renal Blood Flow, and Their Control Multiple Functions of the Kidneys Physiologic Anatomy of the Kidneys Micturition Physiologic Anatomy of the Bladder Transport of Urine from the Kidney Through the Ureters and into the Bladder Filling of the Bladder and Bladder Wall Tone; the Cystometrogram Micturition Reflex xii

285 285 286 287 287 287 287 289 290 290 291 292 294 294 296 300

303 303 304 307 307 308 309 309

Abnormalities of Micturition Urine Formation Results from Glomerular Filtration, Tubular Reabsorption, and Tubular Secretion Glomerular Filtration—The First Step in Urine Formation Determinants of the GFR Renal Blood Flow Physiologic Control of Glomerular Filtration and Renal Blood Flow Autoregulation of GFR and Renal Blood Flow

310 310 312 314 316 317 319

CHAPTER 27 Urine Formation by the Kidneys: II. Tubular 323 Reabsorption and Secretion Renal Tubular Reabsorption and Secretion 323 Tubular Reabsorption Includes Passive and Active Mechanisms 323 Reabsorption and Secretion Along Different Parts of the Nephron 329 Regulation of Tubular Reabsorption 334 Use of Clearance Methods to Quantify Kidney Function 340 CHAPTER 28 Urine Concentration and Dilution; Regulation of Extracellular Fluid Osmolarity and Sodium Concentration Kidneys Excrete Excess Water by Forming Dilute Urine Kidneys Conserve Water by Excreting Concentrated Urine Quantifying Renal Urine Concentration and Dilution: “Free Water” and Osmolar Clearances Disorders of Urinary Concentrating Ability Control of Extracellular Fluid Osmolarity and Sodium Concentration Osmoreceptor-ADH Feedback System Importance of Thirst in Controlling Extracellular Fluid Osmolarity and Sodium Concentration Salt-Appetite Mechanism for Controlling Extracellular Fluid Sodium Concentration and Volume CHAPTER 29 Renal Regulation of Potassium, Calcium, Phosphate, and Magnesium; Integration of Renal Mechanisms for Control of Blood Volume and Extracellular Fluid Volume Regulation of Extracellular Fluid Potassium Concentration and Potassium Excretion

345 345 346 354 354 355 355 357 360

361 361

  Contents

Control of Renal Calcium Excretion and Extracellular Calcium Ion Concentration Control of Renal Magnesium Excretion and Extracellular Magnesium Ion Concentration Integration of Renal Mechanisms for Control of Extracellular Fluid Importance of Pressure Natriuresis and Pressure Diuresis in Maintaining Body Sodium and Fluid Balance Distribution of Extracellular Fluid Between the Interstitial Spaces and Vascular System Nervous and Hormonal Factors Increase the Effectiveness of Renal–Body Fluid Feedback Control Integrated Responses to Changes in Sodium Intake Conditions That Cause Large Increases in Blood Volume and Extracellular Fluid Volume Conditions That Cause Large Increases in Extracellular Fluid Volume but with Normal Blood Volume CHAPTER 30 Acid-Base Regulation H+ Concentration Is Precisely Regulated Acids and Bases—Their Definitions and Meanings Defending Against Changes in H+ Concentration: Buffers, Lungs, and Kidneys Buffering of H+ in the Body Fluids Bicarbonate Buffer System Phosphate Buffer System Proteins Are Important Intracellular Buffers Respiratory Regulation of Acid-Base Balance Renal Control of Acid-Base Balance Secretion of H+ and Reabsorption of HCO3− by the Renal Tubules Combination of Excess H+ with Phosphate and Ammonia Buffers in the Tubule Generates “New” HCO3− Quantifying Renal Acid-Base Excretion Renal Correction of Acidosis—Increased Excretion of H+ and Addition of HCO3− to the Extracellular Fluid Renal Correction of Alkalosis—Decreased Tubular Secretion of H+ and Increased Excretion of HCO3− Clinical Causes of Acid-Base Disorders Treatment of Acidosis or Alkalosis Clinical Measurements and Analysis of Acid-Base Disorders

367 369 370 371

CHAPTER 31 Diuretics, Kidney Diseases Diuretics and Their Mechanisms of Action Kidney Diseases Acute Renal Failure Chronic Renal Failure: An Irreversible Decrease in the Number of Functional Nephrons Specific Tubular Disorders Treatment of Renal Failure by Transplantation or by Dialysis with an Artificial Kidney

397 397 399 399 401 408 409

373 UNIT VI 373 376 376 377 379 379 379 380 380 381 383 383 384 385 386 388 389 391 391 392 393 393

Blood Cells, Immunity, and Blood Coagulation CHAPTER 32 Red Blood Cells, Anemia, and Polycythemia Red Blood Cells (Erythrocytes) Anemias Polycythemia CHAPTER 33 Resistance of the Body to Infection: I. Leukocytes, Granulocytes, the MonocyteMacrophage System, and Inflammation Leukocytes (White Blood Cells) Neutrophils and Macrophages Defend Against Infections Monocyte-Macrophage Cell System (Reticuloendothelial System) Inflammation: Role of Neutrophils and Macrophages Eosinophils Basophils Leukopenia Leukemias CHAPTER 34 Resistance of the Body to Infection: II. Immunity and Allergy Innate Immunity Acquired (Adaptive) Immunity Allergy and Hypersensitivity CHAPTER 35 Blood Types; Transfusion; Tissue and Organ Transplantation Antigenicity Causes Immune Reactions of Blood O-A-B Blood Types Rh Blood Types Transplantation of Tissues and Organs

413 413 420 421

423 423 425 426 428 430 431 431 431

433 433 443

445 445 445 447 449 xiii

Contents

CHAPTER 36 Hemostasis and Blood Coagulation Events in Hemostasis Vascular Constriction Mechanism of Blood Coagulation Conditions That Cause Excessive Bleeding in Humans Thromboembolic Conditions in the Human Being Anticoagulants for Clinical Use Blood Coagulation Tests

451 451 451 453 457 459 459 460

UNIT VII

Respiration CHAPTER 37 465 Pulmonary Ventilation Mechanics of Pulmonary Ventilation 465 Pulmonary Volumes and Capacities 469 Minute Respiratory Volume Equals Respiratory Rate Times Tidal Volume 471 Alveolar Ventilation 471 Functions of the Respiratory Passageways 472 CHAPTER 38 Pulmonary Circulation, Pulmonary Edema, Pleural Fluid Physiologic Anatomy of the Pulmonary Circulatory System Pressures in the Pulmonary System Blood Volume of the Lungs Blood Flow Through the Lungs and Its Distribution Effect of Hydrostatic Pressure Gradients in the Lungs on Regional Pulmonary Blood Flow Pulmonary Capillary Dynamics Fluid in the Pleural Cavity CHAPTER 39 Physical Principles of Gas Exchange; Diffusion of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide Through the Respiratory Membrane Physics of Gas Diffusion and Gas Partial Pressures Compositions of Alveolar Air and Atmospheric Air Are Different Diffusion of Gases Through the Respiratory Membrane Effect of the Ventilation-Perfusion Ratio on Alveolar Gas Concentration xiv

477 477 477 478 479 479 481 483

485 485 487 489 492

CHAPTER 40 Transport of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide in Blood and Tissue Fluids Transport of Oxygen from the Lungs to the Body Tissues Transport of Carbon Dioxide in the Blood Respiratory Exchange Ratio CHAPTER 41 Regulation of Respiration Respiratory Center Chemical Control of Respiration Peripheral Chemoreceptor System for Control of Respiratory Activity—Role of Oxygen in Respiratory Control Regulation of Respiration During Exercise Other Factors That Affect Respiration CHAPTER 42 Respiratory Insufficiency—Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Oxygen Therapy Useful Methods for Studying Respiratory Abnormalities Pathophysiology of Specific Pulmonary Abnormalities Hypoxia and Oxygen Therapy Hypercapnia—Excess Carbon Dioxide in the Body Fluids Artificial Respiration

495 495 502 504 505 505 507 508 510 512

515 515 517 520 522 522

UNIT VIII

Aviation, Space, and Deep-Sea Diving Physiology CHAPTER 43 Aviation, High-Altitude, and Space Physiology Effects of Low Oxygen Pressure on the Body Effects of Acceleratory Forces on the Body in Aviation and Space Physiology “Artificial Climate” in the Sealed Spacecraft Weightlessness in Space CHAPTER 44 Physiology of Deep-Sea Diving and Other Hyperbaric Conditions Effect of High Partial Pressures of Individual Gases on the Body Scuba (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) Diving Special Physiologic Problems in Submarines Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

527 527 531 533 533

535 535 539 540 540

  Contents

UNIT IX

The Nervous System: A. General Principles and Sensory Physiology CHAPTER 45 Organization of the Nervous System, Basic Functions of Synapses, and Neurotransmitters General Design of the Nervous System Major Levels of Central Nervous System Function Comparison of the Nervous System with a Computer Central Nervous System Synapses Some Special Characteristics of Synaptic Transmission

543 543 545 546 546 557

CHAPTER 46 Sensory Receptors, Neuronal Circuits for Processing Information Types of Sensory Receptors and the Stimuli They Detect Transduction of Sensory Stimuli into Nerve Impulses Nerve Fibers That Transmit Different Types of Signals and Their Physiologic Classification Transmission of Signals of Different Intensity in Nerve Tracts—Spatial and Temporal Summation Transmission and Processing of Signals in Neuronal Pools Instability and Stability of Neuronal Circuits

559 559 560 563 564 564 569

CHAPTER 47 Somatic Sensations: I. General Organization, 571 the Tactile and Position Senses Classification of Somatic Senses 571 Detection and Transmission of Tactile Sensations 571 Sensory Pathways for Transmitting Somatic Signals into the Central Nervous System 573 Transmission in the Dorsal Column–Medial Lemniscal System 573 Transmission of Less Critical Sensory Signals in the Anterolateral Pathway 580 Some Special Aspects of Somatosensory Function 581 CHAPTER 48 Somatic Sensations: II. Pain, Headache, and Thermal Sensations Types of Pain and Their Qualities—Fast Pain and Slow Pain

583 583

Pain Receptors and Their Stimulation Dual Pathways for Transmission of Pain Signals into the Central Nervous System Pain Suppression (“Analgesia”) System in the Brain and Spinal Cord Referred Pain Visceral Pain Some Clinical Abnormalities of Pain and Other Somatic Sensations Headache Thermal Sensations

583 584 586 588 588 590 590 592

UNIT X

The Nervous System: B. The Special Senses CHAPTER 49 The Eye: I. Optics of Vision Physical Principles of Optics Optics of the Eye Ophthalmoscope Fluid System of the Eye—Intraocular Fluid CHAPTER 50 The Eye: II. Receptor and Neural Function of the Retina Anatomy and Function of the Structural Elements of the Retina Photochemistry of Vision Color Vision Neural Function of the Retina CHAPTER 51 The Eye: III. Central Neurophysiology of Vision Visual Pathways Organization and Function of the Visual Cortex Neuronal Patterns of Stimulation During Analysis of the Visual Image Fields of Vision; Perimetry Eye Movements and Their Control Autonomic Control of Accommodation and Pupillary Aperture CHAPTER 52 The Sense of Hearing Tympanic Membrane and the Ossicular System Cochlea Central Auditory Mechanisms Hearing Abnormalities

597 597 600 605 606

609 609 611 615 616

623 623 624 626 627 627 631 633 633 634 639 642 xv

Contents

CHAPTER 53 The Chemical Senses—Taste and Smell Sense of Taste Sense of Smell

645 645 648

UNIT XI

The Nervous System: C. Motor and Integrative Neurophysiology

CHAPTER 56 Contributions of the Cerebellum and Basal Ganglia to Overall Motor Control Cerebellum and Its Motor Functions Basal Ganglia—Their Motor Functions Integration of the Many Parts of the Total Motor Control System

667 667 673 674 678

681 681 689 694

CHAPTER 57 Cerebral Cortex, Intellectual Functions of the 697 Brain, Learning, and Memory Physiologic Anatomy of the Cerebral Cortex 697 Functions of Specific Cortical Areas 698 xvi

703

704 705

CHAPTER 58

CHAPTER 54 Motor Functions of the Spinal Cord; the Cord 655 Reflexes Organization of the Spinal Cord for Motor Functions 655 Muscle Sensory Receptors—Muscle Spindles and Golgi Tendon Organs—And Their Roles in Muscle Control 657 Flexor Reflex and the Withdrawal Reflexes 661 Crossed Extensor Reflex 663 Reciprocal Inhibition and Reciprocal Innervation 663 Reflexes of Posture and Locomotion 663 Scratch Reflex 664 Spinal Cord Reflexes That Cause Muscle Spasm 664 Autonomic Reflexes in the Spinal Cord 665 Spinal Cord Transection and Spinal Shock 665 CHAPTER 55 Cortical and Brain Stem Control of Motor Function Motor Cortex and Corticospinal Tract Role of the Brain Stem in Controlling Motor Function Vestibular Sensations and Maintenance of Equilibrium Functions of Brain Stem Nuclei in Controlling Subconscious, Stereotyped Movements

Function of the Brain in Communication— Language Input and Language Output Function of the Corpus Callosum and Anterior Commissure to Transfer Thoughts, Memories, Training, and Other Information Between the Two Cerebral Hemispheres Thoughts, Consciousness, and Memory

Behavioral and Motivational Mechanisms of the Brain—The Limbic System and the Hypothalamus 711 Activating-Driving Systems of the Brain 711 Limbic System 714 Functional Anatomy of the Limbic System; Key Position of the Hypothalamus 714 Hypothalamus, a Major Control Headquarters for the Limbic System 715 Specific Functions of Other Parts of the Limbic System 718 CHAPTER 59 States of Brain Activity—Sleep, Brain Waves, Epilepsy, Psychoses Sleep Epilepsy Psychotic Behavior and Dementia—Roles of Specific Neurotransmitter Systems Schizophrenia—Possible Exaggerated Function of Part of the Dopamine System CHAPTER 60 The Autonomic Nervous System and the Adrenal Medulla General Organization of the Autonomic Nervous System Basic Characteristics of Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Function Autonomic Reflexes Stimulation of Discrete Organs in Some Instances and Mass Stimulation in Other Instances by the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Systems Pharmacology of the Autonomic Nervous System CHAPTER 61 Cerebral Blood Flow, Cerebrospinal Fluid, and Brain Metabolism Cerebral Blood Flow Cerebrospinal Fluid System Brain Metabolism

721 721 725 726 727

729 729 731 738

738 739

743 743 746 749

  Contents

Disorders of the Stomach Disorders of the Small Intestine Disorders of the Large Intestine General Disorders of the Gastrointestinal Tract

UNIT XII

Gastrointestinal Physiology CHAPTER 62 General Principles of Gastrointestinal Function—Motility, Nervous Control, and Blood Circulation General Principles of Gastrointestinal Motility Neural Control of Gastrointestinal Function— Enteric Nervous System Functional Types of Movements in the Gastrointestinal Tract Gastrointestinal Blood Flow—“Splanchnic Circulation” CHAPTER 63 Propulsion and Mixing of Food in the Alimentary Tract Ingestion of Food Motor Functions of the Stomach Movements of the Small Intestine Movements of the Colon Other Autonomic Reflexes That Affect Bowel Activity CHAPTER 64 Secretory Functions of the Alimentary Tract General Principles of Alimentary Tract Secretion Secretion of Saliva Esophageal Secretion Gastric Secretion Pancreatic Secretion Secretion of Bile by the Liver; Functions of the Biliary Tree Secretions of the Small Intestine Secretion of Mucus by the Large Intestine CHAPTER 65 Digestion and Absorption in the Gastrointestinal Tract Digestion of the Various Foods by Hydrolysis Basic Principles of Gastrointestinal Absorption Absorption in the Small Intestine Absorption in the Large Intestine: Formation of Feces

753 753 755 759 759

763 763 765 768 770 772 773 773 775 776 777 780 783 786 787

789 789 793 794 797

CHAPTER 66 799 Physiology of Gastrointestinal Disorders Disorders of Swallowing and of the Esophagus 799

799 801 802 803

UNIT XIII

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation CHAPTER 67 Metabolism of Carbohydrates, and Formation of Adenosine Triphosphate Central Role of Glucose in Carbohydrate Metabolism Transport of Glucose Through the Cell Membrane Glycogen Is Stored in Liver and Muscle Release of Energy from Glucose by the Glycolytic Pathway Release of Energy from Glucose by the Pentose Phosphate Pathway Formation of Carbohydrates from Proteins and Fats—“Gluconeogenesis” Blood Glucose CHAPTER 68 Lipid Metabolism Transport of Lipids in the Body Fluids Fat Deposits Use of Triglycerides for Energy: Formation of Adenosine Triphosphate Regulation of Energy Release from Triglycerides Phospholipids and Cholesterol Atherosclerosis CHAPTER 69 Protein Metabolism Basic Properties Transport and Storage of Amino Acids Functional Roles of the Plasma Proteins Hormonal Regulation of Protein Metabolism CHAPTER 70 The Liver as an Organ Physiologic Anatomy of the Liver Hepatic Vascular and Lymph Systems Metabolic Functions of the Liver Measurement of Bilirubin in the Bile as a Clinical Diagnostic Tool

809 810 810 811 812 816 817 817 819 819 821 822 825 826 827 831 831 831 833 835 837 837 837 839 840 xvii

Contents

CHAPTER 71 Dietary Balances; Regulation of Feeding; Obesity and Starvation; Vitamins and 843 Minerals Energy Intake and Output Are Balanced Under Steady-State Conditions 843 Dietary Balances 843 Regulation of Food Intake and Energy Storage 845 Obesity 850 Inanition, Anorexia, and Cachexia 851 Starvation 852 Vitamins 852 Mineral Metabolism 855 CHAPTER 72 Energetics and Metabolic Rate Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) Functions as an “Energy Currency” in Metabolism Control of Energy Release in the Cell Metabolic Rate Energy Metabolism—Factors That Influence Energy Output CHAPTER 73 Body Temperature Regulation, and Fever Normal Body Temperatures Body Temperature Is Controlled by Balancing Heat Production and Heat Loss Regulation of Body Temperature— Role of the Hypothalamus Abnormalities of Body Temperature Regulation

859 859 861 862 863

867 867 867 871 875

UNIT XIV

Endocrinology and Reproduction CHAPTER 74 Introduction to Endocrinology Coordination of Body Functions by Chemical Messengers Chemical Structure and Synthesis of Hormones Hormone Secretion, Transport, and Clearance from the Blood Mechanisms of Action of Hormones Measurement of Hormone Concentrations in the Blood xviii

881 881 881 884 886 891

CHAPTER 75 Pituitary Hormones and Their Control by the Hypothalamus Pituitary Gland and Its Relation to the Hypothalamus Hypothalamus Controls Pituitary Secretion Physiological Functions of Growth Hormone Posterior Pituitary Gland and Its Relation to the Hypothalamus CHAPTER 76 Thyroid Metabolic Hormones Synthesis and Secretion of the Thyroid Metabolic Hormones Physiological Functions of the Thyroid Hormones Regulation of Thyroid Hormone Secretion Diseases of the Thyroid CHAPTER 77 Adrenocortical Hormones Synthesis and Secretion of Adrenocortical Hormones Functions of the Mineralocorticoids— Aldosterone Functions of the Glucocorticoids Adrenal Androgens Abnormalities of Adrenocortical Secretion CHAPTER 78 Insulin, Glucagon, and Diabetes Mellitus Insulin and Its Metabolic Effects Glucagon and Its Functions Somatostatin Inhibits Glucagon and Insulin Secretion Summary of Blood Glucose Regulation Diabetes Mellitus CHAPTER 79 Parathyroid Hormone, Calcitonin, Calcium and Phosphate Metabolism, Vitamin D, Bone, and Teeth Overview of Calcium and Phosphate Regulation in the Extracellular Fluid and Plasma Bone and Its Relation to Extracellular Calcium and Phosphate Vitamin D Parathyroid Hormone Calcitonin Summary of Control of Calcium Ion Concentration

895 895 897 898 904 907 907 910 914 916 921 921 924 928 934 934 939 939 947 949 949 950

955 955 957 960 962 966 966

  Contents

Pathophysiology of Parathyroid Hormone, Vitamin D, and Bone Disease Physiology of the Teeth CHAPTER 80 Reproductive and Hormonal Functions of the Male (and Function of the Pineal Gland) Physiologic Anatomy of the Male Sexual Organs Spermatogenesis Male Sexual Act Testosterone and Other Male Sex Hormones Abnormalities of Male Sexual Function Erectile Dysfunction in the Male Pineal Gland—Its Function in Controlling Seasonal Fertility in Some Animals

967 969

973 973 973 978 979 984 985 986

Function of the Placenta Hormonal Factors in Pregnancy Response of the Mother’s Body to Pregnancy Parturition Lactation CHAPTER 83 Fetal and Neonatal Physiology Growth and Functional Development of the Fetus Development of the Organ Systems Adjustments of the Infant to Extrauterine Life Special Functional Problems in the Neonate Special Problems of Prematurity Growth and Development of the Child

1005 1007 1009 1011 1014 1019 1019 1019 1021 1023 1026 1027

UNIT XV

CHAPTER 81 Female Physiology Before Pregnancy and Female Hormones Physiologic Anatomy of the Female Sexual Organs Female Hormonal System Monthly Ovarian Cycle; Function of the Gonadotropic Hormones Functions of the Ovarian Hormones— Estradiol and Progesterone Regulation of the Female Monthly Rhythm—Interplay Between the Ovarian and Hypothalamic-Pituitary Hormones Abnormalities of Secretion by the Ovaries Female Sexual Act Female Fertility

996 999 1000 1000

CHAPTER 82 Pregnancy and Lactation Maturation and Fertilization of the Ovum Early Nutrition of the Embryo

1003 1003 1005

987 987 987 988 991

Sports Physiology CHAPTER 84 Sports Physiology Muscles in Exercise Respiration in Exercise Cardiovascular System in Exercise Body Heat in Exercise Body Fluids and Salt in Exercise Drugs and Athletes Body Fitness Prolongs Life

Index

1031 1031 1036 1038 1039 1040 1040 1041

1043

xix

This page intentionally left blank

Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology 1. Functional Organization of the Human Body and Control of the “Internal Environment” 2. The Cell and Its Functions 3. Genetic Control of Protein Synthesis, Cell Function, and Cell Reproduction

Unit

I

This page intentionally left blank

chapter 1

The goal of physiology is to explain the physical and chemical factors that are responsible for the origin, development, and progression of life. Each type of life, from the simple virus to the largest tree or the complicated human being, has its own functional characteristics. Therefore, the vast field of physiology can be divided into viral physiology, bacterial physiology, cellular physiology, plant physiology, human physiology, and many more subdivisions.

Human Physiology.  In human physiology, we attempt to explain the specific characteristics and mechanisms of the human body that make it a living being. The very fact that we remain alive is the result of complex control systems, for hunger makes us seek food and fear makes us seek refuge. Sensations of cold make us look for warmth. Other forces cause us to seek fellowship and to reproduce. Thus, the human being is, in many ways, like an automaton, and the fact that we are sensing, feeling, and knowledgeable beings is part of this automatic sequence of life; these special attributes allow us to exist under widely varying conditions.

Cells as the Living Units of the Body The basic living unit of the body is the cell. Each organ is an aggregate of many different cells held together by intercellular supporting structures. Each type of cell is specially adapted to perform one or a few particular functions. For instance, the red blood cells, numbering 25 trillion in each human being, transport oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. Although the red cells are the most abundant of any single type of cell in the body, there are about 75 trillion additional cells of other types that perform functions different from those of the red cell. The entire body, then, contains about 100 trillion cells. Although the many cells of the body often differ markedly from one another, all of them have certain basic characteristics that are alike. For instance, in all cells, oxygen

reacts with carbohydrate, fat, and protein to release the energy required for cell function. Further, the general chemical mechanisms for changing nutrients into energy are basically the same in all cells, and all cells deliver end products of their chemical reactions into the surrounding fluids. Almost all cells also have the ability to reproduce additional cells of their own kind. Fortunately, when cells of a particular type are destroyed, the remaining cells of this type usually generate new cells until the supply is replenished.

Extracellular Fluid—The “Internal Environment” About 60 percent of the adult human body is fluid, mainly a water solution of ions and other substances. Although most of this fluid is inside the cells and is called intracellular fluid, about one third is in the spaces outside the cells and is called extracellular fluid. This extracellular fluid is in constant motion throughout the body. It is transported rapidly in the circulating blood and then mixed between the blood and the tissue fluids by diffusion through the capillary walls. In the extracellular fluid are the ions and nutrients needed by the cells to maintain cell life. Thus, all cells live in essentially the same environment—the extracellular fluid. For this reason, the extracellular fluid is also called the internal environment of the body, or the milieu intérieur, a term introduced more than 100 years ago by the great 19th-century French physiologist Claude Bernard. Cells are capable of living, growing, and performing their special functions as long as the proper concentrations of oxygen, glucose, different ions, amino acids, fatty substances, and other constituents are available in this internal environment.

Differences Between Extracellular and Intra­ cellular Fluids.  The extracellular fluid contains large

amounts of sodium, chloride, and bicarbonate ions plus nutrients for the cells, such as oxygen, glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids. It also contains carbon dioxide that is 3

Unit I

Functional Organization of the Human Body and Control of the “Internal Environment”

Unit I  Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology

being transported from the cells to the lungs to be excreted, plus other cellular waste products that are being transported to the kidneys for excretion. The intracellular fluid differs significantly from the extracellular fluid; for example, it contains large amounts of potassium, magnesium, and phosphate ions instead of the sodium and chloride ions found in the extracellular fluid. Special mechanisms for transporting ions through the cell membranes maintain the ion concentration differences between the extracellular and intracellular fluids. These transport processes are discussed in Chapter 4.

Lungs

CO2

O2 Right heart pump

Left heart pump Gut

“Homeostatic” Mechanisms of the Major Functional Systems Homeostasis The term homeostasis is used by physiologists to mean maintenance of nearly constant conditions in the internal environment. Essentially all organs and tissues of the body perform functions that help maintain these relatively constant conditions. For instance, the lungs provide oxygen to the extracellular fluid to replenish the oxygen used by the cells, the kidneys maintain constant ion concentrations, and the gastrointestinal system provides nutrients. A large segment of this text is concerned with the manner in which each organ or tissue contributes to homeostasis. To begin this discussion, the different functional systems of the body and their contributions to homeostasis are outlined in this chapter; then we briefly outline the basic theory of the body’s control systems that allow the functional systems to operate in support of one another.

Extracellular Fluid Transport and Mixing System—The Blood Circulatory System Extracellular fluid is transported through all parts of the body in two stages. The first stage is movement of blood through the body in the blood vessels, and the second is movement of fluid between the blood capillaries and the intercellular spaces between the tissue cells. Figure 1-1 shows the overall circulation of blood. All the blood in the circulation traverses the entire circulatory circuit an average of once each minute when the body is at rest and as many as six times each minute when a person is extremely active. As blood passes through the blood capillaries, continual exchange of extracellular fluid also occurs between the plasma portion of the blood and the interstitial fluid that fills the intercellular spaces. This process is shown in Figure 1-2. The walls of the capillaries are permeable to most molecules in the plasma of the blood, with the exception of plasma protein molecules, which are too large to readily pass through the capillaries. Therefore, large amounts of fluid and its dissolved constituents diffuse back and forth between the blood and the tissue spaces, as shown by the arrows. This process of diffusion is caused by kinetic motion of the molecules in both 4

Nutrition and excretion Kidneys

Regulation of electrolytes

Excretion

Venous end

Arterial end

Capillaries

Figure 1-1  General organization of the circulatory system. Arteriole

Venule

Figure 1-2  Diffusion of fluid and dissolved constituents through the capillary walls and through the interstitial spaces.

the plasma and the interstitial fluid. That is, the fluid and dissolved molecules are continually moving and bouncing in all directions within the plasma and the fluid in the intercellular spaces, as well as through the capillary pores.

Chapter 1  Functional Organization of the Human Body and Control of the “Internal Environment”

Origin of Nutrients in the Extracellular Fluid Respiratory System.  Figure 1-1 shows that each time

the blood passes through the body, it also flows through the lungs. The blood picks up oxygen in the alveoli, thus acquiring the oxygen needed by the cells. The membrane between the alveoli and the lumen of the pulmonary capillaries, the alveolar membrane, is only 0.4 to 2.0 micrometers thick, and oxygen rapidly diffuses by molecular motion through this membrane into the blood.

Gastrointestinal Tract.  A large portion of the blood

pumped by the heart also passes through the walls of the gastrointestinal tract. Here different dissolved nutrients, including carbohydrates, fatty acids, and amino acids, are absorbed from the ingested food into the extracellular fluid of the blood.

Liver and Other Organs That Perform Primarily Metabolic Functions.  Not all substances absorbed from

the gastrointestinal tract can be used in their absorbed form by the cells. The liver changes the chemical compositions of many of these substances to more usable forms, and other tissues of the body—fat cells, gastrointestinal mucosa, kidneys, and endocrine glands—help modify the absorbed substances or store them until they are needed. The liver also eliminates certain waste products produced in the body and toxic substances that are ingested.

Musculoskeletal System.  How does the musculo­ skeletal system contribute to homeostasis? The answer is obvious and simple: Were it not for the muscles, the body could not move to the appropriate place at the appropriate time to obtain the foods required for nutrition. The musculoskeletal system also provides motility for protection against adverse surroundings, without which the entire body, along with its homeostatic mechanisms, could be destroyed instantaneously. Removal of Metabolic End Products Removal of Carbon Dioxide by the Lungs.  At the same time that blood picks up oxygen in the lungs, carbon dioxide is released from the blood into the lung alveoli; the respiratory movement of air into and out of the lungs carries the carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is the most abundant of all the end products of metabolism.

Kidneys.  Passage of the blood through the kidneys removes from the plasma most of the other substances besides carbon dioxide that are not needed by the cells.

These substances include different end products of cellular metabolism, such as urea and uric acid; they also include excesses of ions and water from the food that might have accumulated in the extracellular fluid. The kidneys perform their function by first filtering large quantities of plasma through the glomeruli into the tubules and then reabsorbing into the blood those substances needed by the body, such as glucose, amino acids, appropriate amounts of water, and many of the ions. Most of the other substances that are not needed by the body, especially the metabolic end products such as urea, are reabsorbed poorly and pass through the renal tubules into the urine.

Gastrointestinal Tract.  Undigested material that enters the gastrointestinal tract and some waste products of metabolism are eliminated in the feces. Liver.  Among the functions of the liver is the detoxification or removal of many drugs and chemicals that are ingested. The liver secretes many of these wastes into the bile to be eventually eliminated in the feces. Regulation of Body Functions Nervous System.  The nervous system is composed

of three major parts: the sensory input portion, the central nervous system (or integrative portion), and the motor output portion. Sensory receptors detect the state of the body or the state of the surroundings. For instance, receptors in the skin apprise one whenever an object touches the skin at any point. The eyes are sensory organs that give one a visual image of the surrounding area. The ears are also sensory organs. The central nervous system is composed of the brain and spinal cord. The brain can store information, generate thoughts, create ambition, and determine reactions that the body performs in response to the sensations. Appropriate signals are then transmitted through the motor output portion of the nervous system to carry out one’s desires. An important segment of the nervous system is called the autonomic system. It operates at a subconscious level and controls many functions of the internal organs, including the level of pumping activity by the heart, movements of the gastrointestinal tract, and secretion by many of the body’s glands.

Hormone Systems.  Located in the body are eight major endocrine glands that secrete chemical substances called hormones. Hormones are transported in the extracellular fluid to all parts of the body to help regulate cellular function. For instance, thyroid hormone increases the rates of most chemical reactions in all cells, thus helping to set the tempo of bodily activity. Insulin controls glucose metabolism; adrenocortical hormones control sodium ion, potassium ion, and protein metabolism; and parathyroid hormone controls bone calcium and phosphate. Thus, the hormones provide a system for regulation that complements the nervous system. The nervous 5

Unit I

Few cells are located more than 50 micrometers from a capillary, which ensures diffusion of almost any substance from the capillary to the cell within a few seconds. Thus, the extracellular fluid everywhere in the body—both that of the plasma and that of the interstitial fluid—is continually being mixed, thereby maintaining homogeneity of the extracellular fluid throughout the body.

Unit I  Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology

system regulates many muscular and secretory activities of the body, whereas the hormonal system regulates many metabolic functions.

Protection of the Body Immune System.  The immune system consists of the white blood cells, tissue cells derived from white blood cells, the thymus, lymph nodes, and lymph vessels that protect the body from pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. The immune system provides a mechanism for the body to (1) distinguish its own cells from foreign cells and substances and (2) destroy the invader by phagocytosis or by producing sensitized lymphocytes or specialized proteins (e.g., antibodies) that either destroy or neutralize the invader.

Integumentary System.  The skin and its various appendages, including the hair, nails, glands, and other structures, cover, cushion, and protect the deeper tissues and organs of the body and generally provide a boundary between the body’s internal environment and the outside world. The integumentary system is also important for temperature regulation and excretion of wastes and it provides a sensory interface between the body and the external environment. The skin generally comprises about 12 to 15 percent of body weight. Reproduction Sometimes reproduction is not considered a homeostatic function. It does, however, help maintain homeostasis by generating new beings to take the place of those that are dying. This may sound like a permissive usage of the term homeostasis, but it illustrates that, in the final analysis, essentially all body structures are organized such that they help maintain the automaticity and continuity of life.

Control Systems of the Body The human body has thousands of control systems. The most intricate of these are the genetic control systems that operate in all cells to help control intracellular function and extracellular functions. This subject is discussed in Chapter 3. Many other control systems operate within the organs to control functions of the individual parts of the organs; others operate throughout the entire body to control the interrelations between the organs. For instance, the respiratory system, operating in association with the nervous system, regulates the concentration of carbon dioxide in the extracellular fluid. The liver and pancreas regulate the concentration of glucose in the extracellular fluid, and the kidneys regulate concentrations of hydrogen, sodium, potassium, phosphate, and other ions in the extracellular fluid. 6

Examples of Control Mechanisms Regulation of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide Concentrations in the Extracellular Fluid.  Because oxygen is one of the major substances required for chemical reactions in the cells, the body has a special control mechanism to maintain an almost exact and constant oxygen concentration in the extracellular fluid. This mechanism depends principally on the chemical characteristics of hemoglobin, which is present in all red blood cells. Hemoglobin combines with oxygen as the blood passes through the lungs. Then, as the blood passes through the tissue capillaries, hemoglobin, because of its own strong chemical affinity for oxygen, does not release oxygen into the tissue fluid if too much oxygen is already there. But if the oxygen concentration in the tissue fluid is too low, sufficient oxygen is released to re-establish an adequate concentration. Thus, regulation of oxygen concentration in the tissues is vested principally in the chemical characteristics of hemoglobin itself. This regulation is called the oxygen-buffering function of hemoglobin. Carbon dioxide concentration in the extracellular fluid is regulated in a much different way. Carbon dioxide is a major end product of the oxidative reactions in cells. If all the carbon dioxide formed in the cells continued to accumulate in the tissue fluids, all energy-giving reactions of the cells would cease. Fortunately, a higher than normal carbon dioxide concentration in the blood excites the respiratory center, causing a person to breathe rapidly and deeply. This increases expiration of carbon dioxide and, therefore, removes excess carbon dioxide from the blood and tissue fluids. This process continues until the concentration returns to normal.

Regulation of Arterial Blood Pressure.  Several systems contribute to the regulation of arterial blood pressure. One of these, the baroreceptor system, is a simple and excellent example of a rapidly acting control mechanism. In the walls of the bifurcation region of the carotid arteries in the neck, and also in the arch of the aorta in the thorax, are many nerve receptors called baroreceptors, which are stimulated by stretch of the arterial wall. When the arterial pressure rises too high, the baroreceptors send barrages of nerve impulses to the medulla of the brain. Here these impulses inhibit the vasomotor center, which in turn decreases the number of impulses transmitted from the vasomotor center through the sympathetic nervous system to the heart and blood vessels. Lack of these impulses causes diminished pumping activity by the heart and also dilation of the peripheral blood vessels, allowing increased blood flow through the vessels. Both of these effects decrease the arterial pressure back toward normal. Conversely, a decrease in arterial pressure below normal relaxes the stretch receptors, allowing the vasomotor center to become more active than usual, thereby causing vasoconstriction and increased heart pumping. The decrease in arterial pressure also raises arterial pressure back toward normal.

Chapter 1  Functional Organization of the Human Body and Control of the “Internal Environment”

Normal Ranges and Physical Characteristics of Important Extracellular Fluid Constituents

Negative Feedback Nature of Most Control Systems

Characteristics of Control Systems The aforementioned examples of homeostatic control mechanisms are only a few of the many thousands in the body, all of which have certain characteristics in common as explained in this section.

Most control systems of the body act by negative feedback, which can best be explained by reviewing some of the homeostatic control systems mentioned previously. In the regulation of carbon dioxide concentration, a high concentration of carbon dioxide in the extracellular fluid increases pulmonary ventilation. This, in turn, decreases the extracellular fluid carbon dioxide concentration because the lungs expire greater amounts of carbon dioxide from the body. In other words, the high concentration of carbon dioxide initiates events that decrease the concentration toward normal, which is negative to the initiating stimulus. Conversely, if the carbon dioxide concentration falls too low, this causes feedback to increase the concentration. This response is also negative to the initiating stimulus. In the arterial pressure-regulating mechanisms, a high pressure causes a series of reactions that promote a lowered pressure, or a low pressure causes a series of reactions that promote an elevated pressure. In both instances, these effects are negative with respect to the initiating stimulus. Therefore, in general, if some factor becomes excessive or deficient, a control system initiates negative feedback, which consists of a series of changes that return the factor toward a certain mean value, thus maintaining homeostasis. “Gain” of a Control System.  The degree of effectiveness with which a control system maintains constant conditions is determined by the gain of the negative feedback. For instance, let us assume that a large volume of blood is transfused into a person whose baroreceptor pressure control system is not functioning, and the arterial pressure rises from the normal level of 100 mm Hg up to 175 mm Hg. Then, let us assume that the same volume of blood is injected into the same person when the baroreceptor system is functioning, and this time the pressure increases only 25 mm Hg. Thus, the feedback control system has caused a “correction” of −50 mm Hg—that is, from

Table 1-1  Important Constituents and Physical Characteristics of Extracellular Fluid Normal Value

Normal Range

Approximate Short-Term Nonlethal Limit

Unit

Oxygen

40

35-45

10-1000

mm Hg

Carbon dioxide

40

35-45

5-80

mm Hg

Sodium ion

142

138-146

115-175

mmol/L

Potassium ion

4.2

3.8-5.0

1.5-9.0

mmol/L

Calcium ion

1.2

1.0-1.4

0.5-2.0

mmol/L

Chloride ion

108

103-112

70-130

mmol/L

Bicarbonate ion

28

24-32

8-45

mmol/L

Glucose

85

75-95

20-1500

mg/dl

98.4 (37.0)

98-98.8 (37.0)

65-110 (18.3-43.3)

°F (°C)

7.4

7.3-7.5

6.9-8.0

pH

Body temperature Acid-base

7

Unit I

Table 1-1 lists some of the important constituents and physical characteristics of extracellular fluid, along with their normal values, normal ranges, and maximum limits without causing death. Note the narrowness of the normal range for each one. Values outside these ranges are usually caused by illness. Most important are the limits beyond which abnormalities can cause death. For example, an increase in the body temperature of only 11°F (7°C) above normal can lead to a vicious cycle of increasing cellular metabolism that destroys the cells. Note also the narrow range for acid-base balance in the body, with a normal pH value of 7.4 and lethal values only about 0.5 on either side of normal. Another important factor is the potassium ion concentration because whenever it decreases to less than one-third normal, a person is likely to be paralyzed as a result of the nerves’ inability to carry signals. Alternatively, if the potassium ion concentration increases to two or more times normal, the heart muscle is likely to be severely depressed. Also, when the calcium ion concentration falls below about one-half normal, a person is likely to experience tetanic contraction of muscles throughout the body because of the spontaneous generation of excess nerve impulses in the peripheral nerves. When the glucose concentration falls below onehalf normal, a person frequently develops extreme mental irritability and sometimes even convulsions. These examples should give one an appreciation for the extreme value and even the necessity of the vast numbers of control systems that keep the body operating in health; in the absence of any one of these controls, serious body malfunction or death can result.

Unit I  Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology

175 mm Hg to 125 mm Hg. There remains an increase in pressure of +25 mm Hg, called the “error,” which means that the control system is not 100 percent effective in preventing change. The gain of the system is then calculated by the following formula: Gain =

Correction Error

Thus, in the baroreceptor system example, the correction is −50 mm Hg and the error persisting is +25 mm Hg. Therefore, the gain of the person’s baroreceptor system for control of arterial pressure is −50 divided by +25, or −2. That is, a disturbance that increases or decreases the arterial pressure does so only one-third as much as would occur if this control system were not present. The gains of some other physiologic control systems are much greater than that of the baroreceptor system. For instance, the gain of the system controlling internal body temperature when a person is exposed to moderately cold weather is about −33. Therefore, one can see that the temperature control system is much more effective than the baroreceptor pressure control system.

Positive Feedback Can Sometimes Cause Vicious Cycles and Death One might ask the question, Why do most control systems of the body operate by negative feedback rather than positive feedback? If one considers the nature of positive feedback, one immediately sees that positive feedback does not lead to stability but to instability and, in some cases, can cause death. Figure 1-3 shows an example in which death can ensue from positive feedback. This figure depicts the pumping effectiveness of the heart, showing that the heart of a healthy human being pumps about 5 liters of blood per minute. If the person is suddenly bled 2 liters, the amount of blood in the body is decreased to such a low level that

Pumping effectiveness of heart (Liters pumped per minute)

5 Return to normal

4 Bled 1 liter 3

2

Bled 2 liters

1 Death

0 1

2

3

Hours

Figure 1-3  Recovery of heart pumping caused by negative feedback after 1 liter of blood is removed from the circulation. Death is caused by positive feedback when 2 liters of blood are removed.

8

not enough blood is available for the heart to pump effectively. As a result, the arterial pressure falls and the flow of blood to the heart muscle through the coronary vessels diminishes. This results in weakening of the heart, further diminished pumping, a further decrease in coronary blood flow, and still more weakness of the heart; the cycle repeats itself again and again until death occurs. Note that each cycle in the feedback results in further weakening of the heart. In other words, the initiating stimulus causes more of the same, which is positive feedback. Positive feedback is better known as a “vicious cycle,” but a mild degree of positive feedback can be overcome by the negative feedback control mechanisms of the body and the vicious cycle fails to develop. For instance, if the person in the aforementioned example were bled only 1 liter instead of 2 liters, the normal negative feedback mechanisms for controlling cardiac output and arterial pressure would overbalance the positive feedback and the person would recover, as shown by the dashed curve of Figure 1-3. Positive Feedback Can Sometimes Be Useful.  In some instances, the body uses positive feedback to its advantage. Blood clotting is an example of a valuable use of positive feedback. When a blood vessel is ruptured and a clot begins to form, multiple enzymes called clotting factors are activated within the clot itself. Some of these enzymes act on other unactivated enzymes of the immediately adjacent blood, thus causing more blood clotting. This process continues until the hole in the vessel is plugged and bleeding no longer occurs. On occasion, this mechanism can get out of hand and cause the formation of unwanted clots. In fact, this is what initiates most acute heart attacks, which are caused by a clot beginning on the inside surface of an atherosclerotic plaque in a coronary artery and then growing until the artery is blocked. Childbirth is another instance in which positive feedback plays a valuable role. When uterine contractions become strong enough for the baby’s head to begin pushing through the cervix, stretch of the cervix sends signals through the uterine muscle back to the body of the uterus, causing even more powerful contractions. Thus, the uterine contractions stretch the cervix and the cervical stretch causes stronger contractions. When this process becomes powerful enough, the baby is born. If it is not powerful enough, the contractions usually die out and a few days pass before they begin again. Another important use of positive feedback is for the generation of nerve signals. That is, when the membrane of a nerve fiber is stimulated, this causes slight leakage of sodium ions through sodium channels in the nerve membrane to the fiber’s interior. The sodium ions entering the fiber then change the membrane potential, which in turn causes more opening of channels, more change of potential, still more opening of channels, and so forth. Thus, a slight leak becomes an explosion of sodium entering the interior of the nerve fiber, which creates the nerve action potential. This action potential in turn causes electrical current to flow along both the outside and the inside

Chapter 1  Functional Organization of the Human Body and Control of the “Internal Environment”

More Complex Types of Control Systems—Adaptive Control Later in this text, when we study the nervous system, we shall see that this system contains great numbers of interconnected control mechanisms. Some are simple feedback systems similar to those already discussed. Many are not. For instance, some movements of the body occur so rapidly that there is not enough time for nerve signals to travel from the peripheral parts of the body all the way to the brain and then back to the periphery again to control the movement. Therefore, the brain uses a principle called feed-forward control to cause required muscle contractions. That is, sensory nerve signals from the moving parts apprise the brain whether the movement is performed correctly. If not, the brain corrects the feed-forward signals that it sends to the muscles the next time the movement is required. Then, if still further correction is necessary, this will be done again for subsequent movements. This is called adaptive control. Adaptive control, in a sense, is delayed negative feedback. Thus, one can see how complex the feedback control systems of the body can be. A person’s life depends on all of them. Therefore, a major share of this text is devoted to discussing these life-giving mechanisms.

Summary—Automaticity of the Body The purpose of this chapter has been to point out, first, the overall organization of the body and, second, the means by which the different parts of the body operate in harmony. To summarize, the body is actually a social order of about 100 trillion cells organized into different functional structures, some of which are called organs. Each

functional structure contributes its share to the maintenance of homeostatic conditions in the extracellular fluid, which is called the internal environment. As long as normal conditions are maintained in this internal environment, the cells of the body continue to live and function properly. Each cell benefits from homeostasis, and in turn, each cell contributes its share toward the maintenance of homeostasis. This reciprocal interplay provides continuous automaticity of the body until one or more functional systems lose their ability to contribute their share of function. When this happens, all the cells of the body suffer. Extreme dysfunction leads to death; moderate dysfunction leads to sickness.

Bibliography Adolph EF: Physiological adaptations: hypertrophies and superfunctions, Am Sci 60:608, 1972. Bernard C: Lectures on the Phenomena of Life Common to Animals and Plants, Springfield, IL, 1974, Charles C Thomas. Cannon WB: The Wisdom of the Body, New York, 1932, WW Norton. Chien S: Mechanotransduction and endothelial cell homeostasis: the wisdom of the cell, Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 292:H1209, 2007. Csete ME, Doyle JC: Reverse engineering of biological complexity, Science 295:1664, 2002. Danzler WH, editor: Handbook of Physiology, Sec 13: Comparative Physiology, Bethesda, 1997, American Physiological Society. DiBona GF: Physiology in perspective: the wisdom of the body. Neural control of the kidney, Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 289:R633, 2005. Dickinson MH, Farley CT, Full RJ, et al: How animals move: an integrative view, Science 288:100, 2000. Garland T Jr, Carter PA: Evolutionary physiology, Annu Rev Physiol 56:579, 1994. Gao Q, Horvath TL: Neuronal control of energy homeostasis, FEBS Lett 582:132, 2008. Guyton AC: Arterial Pressure and Hypertension, Philadelphia, 1980, WB Saunders. Guyton AC, Jones CE, Coleman TG: Cardiac Output and Its Regulation, Philadelphia, 1973, WB Saunders. Guyton AC, Taylor AE, Granger HJ: Dynamics and Control of the Body Fluids, Philadelphia, 1975, WB Saunders. Herman MA, Kahn BB: Glucose transport and sensing in the maintenance of glucose homeostasis and metabolic harmony, J Clin Invest 116:1767, 2006. Krahe R, Gabbiani F: Burst firing in sensory systems, Nat Rev Neurosci 5:13, 2004. Orgel LE: The origin of life on the earth, Sci Am 271:76, 1994. Quarles LD: Endocrine functions of bone in mineral metabolism regulation, J Clin Invest 118:3820, 2008. Smith HW: From Fish to Philosopher, New York, 1961, Doubleday. Tjian R: Molecular machines that control genes, Sci Am 272:54, 1995.

9

Unit I

of the fiber and initiates additional action potentials. This process continues again and again until the nerve signal goes all the way to the end of the fiber. In each case in which positive feedback is useful, the positive feedback itself is part of an overall negative feedback process. For example, in the case of blood clotting, the positive feedback clotting process is a negative feedback process for maintenance of normal blood volume. Also, the positive feedback that causes nerve signals allows the nerves to participate in thousands of negative feedback nervous control systems.

This page intentionally left blank

chapter 2

Each of the 100 trillion cells in a human being is a living structure that can survive for months or many years, provided its surrounding fluids contain appropriate nutrients. To understand the function of organs and other structures of the body, it is essential that we first understand the basic organization of the cell and the functions of its component parts.

Organization of the Cell A typical cell, as seen by the light microscope, is shown in Figure 2-1. Its two major parts are the nucleus and the cytoplasm. The nucleus is separated from the cytoplasm by a nuclear membrane, and the cytoplasm is separated from the surrounding fluids by a cell membrane, also called the plasma membrane. The different substances that make up the cell are collectively called protoplasm. Protoplasm is composed mainly of five basic substances: water, electrolytes, proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates.

Water.  The principal fluid medium of the cell is water, which is present in most cells, except for fat cells, in a concentration of 70 to 85 percent. Many cellular chemicals are dissolved in the water. Others are suspended in the water as solid particulates. Chemical reactions take place among the dissolved chemicals or at the surfaces of the suspended particles or membranes. Ions.  Important ions in the cell include potassium, magnesium, phosphate, sulfate, bicarbonate, and smaller quantities of sodium, chloride, and calcium. These are all discussed in more detail in Chapter 4, which considers the interrelations between the intracellular and extracellular fluids. The ions provide inorganic chemicals for cellular reactions. Also, they are necessary for operation of some of the cellular control mechanisms. For instance, ions acting at the cell membrane are required for transmission of electrochemical impulses in nerve and muscle fibers.

Proteins.  After water, the most abundant substances in most cells are proteins, which normally constitute 10 to 20 percent of the cell mass. These can be divided into two types: structural proteins and functional proteins. Structural proteins are present in the cell mainly in the form of long filaments that are polymers of many individual protein molecules. A prominent use of such intracellular filaments is to form microtubules that provide the “cytoskeletons” of such cellular organelles as cilia, nerve axons, the mitotic spindles of mitosing cells, and a tangled mass of thin filamentous tubules that hold the parts of the cytoplasm and nucleoplasm together in their respective compartments. Extracellularly, fibrillar proteins are found especially in the collagen and elastin fibers of connective tissue and in blood vessel walls, tendons, ligaments, and so forth. The functional proteins are an entirely different type of protein, usually composed of combinations of a few molecules in tubular-globular form. These proteins are mainly the enzymes of the cell and, in contrast to the fibrillar proteins, are often mobile in the cell fluid. Also, many of them are adherent to membranous structures inside the cell. The enzymes come into direct contact with other substances in the cell fluid and thereby catalyze specific intracellular chemical reactions. For instance, the chemical reactions that split glucose into its component parts and then combine these with oxygen to form carbon dioxide and water while simultaneously providing energy for cellular function are all catalyzed by a series of protein enzymes.

Cell membrane Cytoplasm Nucleolus Nuclear membrane

Nucleoplasm Nucleus

Figure 2-1  Structure of the cell as seen with the light microscope.

11

Unit I

The Cell and Its Functions

Unit I  Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology

Lipids.  Lipids are several types of substances that are grouped together because of their common property of being soluble in fat solvents. Especially important lipids are phospholipids and cholesterol, which together constitute only about 2 percent of the total cell mass. The significance of phospholipids and cholesterol is that they are mainly insoluble in water and, therefore, are used to form the cell membrane and intracellular membrane barriers that separate the different cell compartments. In addition to phospholipids and cholesterol, some cells contain large quantities of triglycerides, also called neutral fat. In the fat cells, triglycerides often account for as much as 95 percent of the cell mass. The fat stored in these cells represents the body’s main storehouse of energy-giving nutrients that can later be dissoluted and used to provide energy wherever in the body it is needed. Carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates have little structural function in the cell except as parts of glycoprotein molecules, but they play a major role in nutrition of the cell. Most human cells do not maintain large stores of carbohydrates; the amount usually averages about 1 percent

of their total mass but increases to as much as 3 percent in muscle cells and, occasionally, 6 percent in liver cells. However, carbohydrate in the form of dissolved glucose is always present in the surrounding extracellular fluid so that it is readily available to the cell. Also, a small amount of carbohydrate is stored in the cells in the form of glycogen, which is an insoluble polymer of glucose that can be depolymerized and used rapidly to supply the cells’ energy needs.

Physical Structure of the Cell The cell is not merely a bag of fluid, enzymes, and chemicals; it also contains highly organized physical structures, called intracellular organelles. The physical nature of each organelle is as important as the cell’s chemical constituents for cell function. For instance, without one of the organelles, the mitochondria, more than 95 percent of the cell’s energy release from nutrients would cease immediately. The most important organelles and other structures of the cell are shown in Figure 2-2.

Chromosomes and DNA

Centrioles Secretory granule Golgi apparatus Microtubules Nuclear membrane

Cell membrane Nucleolus Glycogen Ribosomes Lysosome

Mitochondrion

Granular endoplasmic reticulum

Smooth (agranular) endoplasmic reticulum

Microfilaments

Figure 2-2  Reconstruction of a typical cell, showing the internal organelles in the cytoplasm and in the nucleus.

12

Chapter 2  The Cell and Its Functions

Membranous Structures of the Cell

Cell Membrane The cell membrane (also called the plasma membrane), which envelops the cell, is a thin, pliable, elastic structure only 7.5 to 10 nanometers thick. It is composed almost entirely of proteins and lipids. The approximate composition is proteins, 55 percent; phospholipids, 25 percent; cholesterol, 13 percent; other lipids, 4 percent; and carbohydrates, 3 percent.

Lipid Barrier of the Cell Membrane Impedes Water Penetration.  Figure 2-3 shows the structure of the cell membrane. Its basic structure is a lipid bilayer, which is a thin, double-layered film of lipids—each layer only one molecule thick—that is continuous over the entire cell surface. Interspersed in this lipid film are large globular protein molecules. The basic lipid bilayer is composed of phospholipid molecules. One end of each phospholipid molecule is soluble in water; that is, it is hydrophilic. The other end is soluble only in fats; that is, it is hydrophobic. The phosphate end of the phospholipid is hydrophilic, and the fatty acid portion is hydrophobic. Because the hydrophobic portions of the phospholipid molecules are repelled by water but are mutually attracted to one another, they have a natural tendency to attach to one another in the middle of the membrane, as shown in Figure 2-3. The hydrophilic phosphate portions then constitute the two surfaces of the complete cell membrane, in contact with intracellular water on the inside of the membrane and extracellular water on the outside surface. The lipid layer in the middle of the membrane is impermeable to the usual water-soluble substances, such as ions, glucose, and urea. Conversely, fat-soluble substances, such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, and alcohol, can penetrate this portion of the membrane with ease. Carbohydrate

Extracellular fluid Integral protein

Lipid bilayer Peripheral protein Intracellular fluid Cytoplasm

Integral protein

Figure 2-3  Structure of the cell membrane, showing that it is composed mainly of a lipid bilayer of phospholipid molecules, but with large numbers of protein molecules protruding through the layer. Also, carbohydrate moieties are attached to the protein molecules on the outside of the membrane and to additional protein molecules on the inside. (Redrawn from Lodish HF, Rothman JE: The assembly of cell membranes. Sci Am 240:48, 1979. Copyright George V. Kevin.)

13

Unit I

Most organelles of the cell are covered by membranes composed primarily of lipids and proteins. These membranes include the cell membrane, nuclear membrane, membrane of the endoplasmic reticulum, and membranes of the mitochondria, lysosomes, and Golgi apparatus. The lipids of the membranes provide a barrier that impedes the movement of water and water-soluble substances from one cell compartment to another because water is not soluble in lipids. However, protein molecules in the membrane often do penetrate all the way through the membrane, thus providing specialized pathways, often organized into actual pores, for passage of specific substances through the membrane. Also, many other membrane proteins are enzymes that catalyze a multitude of different chemical reactions, discussed here and in subsequent chapters.

Unit I  Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology

The cholesterol molecules in the membrane are also lipid in nature because their steroid nucleus is highly fat soluble. These molecules, in a sense, are dissolved in the bilayer of the membrane. They mainly help determine the degree of permeability (or impermeability) of the bilayer to water-soluble constituents of body fluids. Cholesterol controls much of the fluidity of the membrane as well. Integral and Peripheral Cell Membrane Proteins.  Figure 2-3 also shows globular masses floating in the lipid bilayer. These are membrane proteins, most of which are glycoproteins. There are two types of cell ­membrane ­proteins: integral proteins that protrude all the way through the membrane and peripheral proteins that are attached only to one surface of the membrane and do not penetrate all the way through. Many of the integral proteins provide structural channels (or pores) through which water molecules and watersoluble substances, especially ions, can diffuse between the extracellular and intracellular fluids. These protein channels also have selective properties that allow preferential diffusion of some substances over others. Other integral proteins act as carrier proteins for transporting substances that otherwise could not penetrate the lipid bilayer. Sometimes these even transport substances in the direction opposite to their electrochemical gradients for diffusion, which is called “active transport.” Still others act as enzymes. Integral membrane proteins can also serve as receptors for water-soluble chemicals, such as peptide hormones, that do not easily penetrate the cell membrane. Interaction of cell membrane receptors with specific ligands that bind to the receptor causes conformational changes in the receptor protein. This, in turn, enzymatically activates the intracellular part of the protein or induces interactions between the receptor and proteins in the cytoplasm that act as second messengers, thereby relaying the signal from the extracellular part of the receptor to the interior of the cell. In this way, integral proteins spanning the cell membrane provide a means of conveying information about the environment to the cell interior. Peripheral protein molecules are often attached to the integral proteins. These peripheral proteins function almost entirely as enzymes or as controllers of transport of substances through the cell membrane “pores.” Membrane Carbohydrates—The Cell “Glycocalyx.”  Membrane carbohydrates occur almost invariably in combination with proteins or lipids in the form of glycoproteins or glycolipids. In fact, most of the integral proteins are glycoproteins, and about one tenth of the membrane lipid molecules are glycolipids. The “glyco” portions of these molecules almost invariably protrude to the outside of the cell, dangling outward from the cell surface. Many other carbohydrate compounds, called proteoglycans—which are mainly carbohydrate substances bound to small protein cores—are loosely attached to the outer surface of the cell as well. Thus, the entire outside surface of the cell often has a loose carbohydrate coat called the glycocalyx. 14

The carbohydrate moieties attached to the outer surface of the cell have several important functions: (1) Many of them have a negative electrical charge, which gives most cells an overall negative surface charge that repels other negative objects. (2) The glycocalyx of some cells attaches to the glycocalyx of other cells, thus attaching cells to one another. (3) Many of the carbohydrates act as receptor substances for binding hormones, such as insulin; when bound, this combination activates attached internal proteins that, in turn, activate a cascade of intracellular enzymes. (4) Some carbohydrate moieties enter into immune reactions, as discussed in Chapter 34.

Cytoplasm and Its Organelles The cytoplasm is filled with both minute and large dispersed particles and organelles. The clear fluid portion of the cytoplasm in which the particles are dispersed is called cytosol; this contains mainly dissolved proteins, electrolytes, and glucose. Dispersed in the cytoplasm are neutral fat globules, glycogen granules, ribosomes, secretory vesicles, and five especially important organelles: the endoplasmic reticulum, the Golgi apparatus, mitochondria, lysosomes, and peroxisomes.

Endoplasmic Reticulum Figure 2-2 shows a network of tubular and flat vesicular structures in the cytoplasm; this is the endoplasmic reticulum. The tubules and vesicles interconnect with one another. Also, their walls are constructed of lipid bilayer membranes that contain large amounts of proteins, similar to the cell membrane. The total surface area of this structure in some cells—the liver cells, for instance—can be as much as 30 to 40 times the cell membrane area. The detailed structure of a small portion of endoplasmic reticulum is shown in Figure 2-4. The space inside the tubules and vesicles is filled with endoplasmic matrix, a watery medium that is different from the fluid in the cytosol outside the endoplasmic reticulum. Electron micrographs show that the space inside the endoplasmic reticulum is connected with the space between the two membrane surfaces of the nuclear membrane. Substances formed in some parts of the cell enter the space of the endoplasmic reticulum and are then conducted to other parts of the cell. Also, the vast surface area of this reticulum and the multiple enzyme systems attached to its membranes provide machinery for a major share of the metabolic functions of the cell. Ribosomes and the Granular Endoplasmic Reticulum.  Attached to the outer surfaces of many parts of the endoplasmic reticulum are large numbers of minute granular particles called ribosomes. Where these are present, the reticulum is called the granular endoplasmic reticulum. The ribosomes are composed of a mixture of RNA and proteins, and they function to synthesize new protein molecules in the cell, as discussed later in this chapter and in Chapter 3.

Chapter 2  The Cell and Its Functions

Matrix

Lysosomes Granular endoplasmic reticulum

Agranular endoplasmic reticulum

Figure 2-4  Structure of the endoplasmic reticulum. (Modified from DeRobertis EDP, Saez FA, DeRobertis EMF: Cell Biology, 6th ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1975.)

Agranular Endoplasmic Reticulum.  Part of the endoplasmic reticulum has no attached ribosomes. This part is called the agranular, or smooth, endoplasmic reticulum. The agranular reticulum functions for the synthesis of lipid substances and for other processes of the cells promoted by intrareticular enzymes.

Golgi Apparatus The Golgi apparatus, shown in Figure 2-5, is closely related to the endoplasmic reticulum. It has membranes similar to those of the agranular endoplasmic reticulum. It is usually composed of four or more stacked layers of thin, flat, enclosed vesicles lying near one side of the nucleus. This apparatus is prominent in secretory cells, where it is located on the side of the cell from which the secretory substances are extruded. Golgi vesicles

Golgi apparatus ER vesicles

Endoplasmic reticulum

Figure 2-5  A typical Golgi apparatus and its relationship to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and the nucleus.

Lysosomes, shown in Figure 2-2, are vesicular organelles that form by breaking off from the Golgi apparatus and then dispersing throughout the cytoplasm. The lysosomes provide an intracellular digestive system that allows the cell to digest (1) damaged cellular structures, (2) food particles that have been ingested by the cell, and (3) unwanted matter such as bacteria. The lysosome is quite different in different cell types, but it is usually 250 to 750 nanometers in diameter. It is surrounded by a typical lipid bilayer membrane and is filled with large numbers of small granules 5 to 8 nanometers in diameter, which are protein aggregates of as many as 40 different hydrolase (digestive) enzymes. A hydrolytic enzyme is capable of splitting an organic compound into two or more parts by combining hydrogen from a water molecule with one part of the compound and combining the hydroxyl portion of the water molecule with the other part of the compound. For instance, protein is hydrolyzed to form amino acids, glycogen is hydrolyzed to form glucose, and lipids are hydrolyzed to form fatty acids and glycerol. Ordinarily, the membrane surrounding the lysosome prevents the enclosed hydrolytic enzymes from coming in contact with other substances in the cell and, therefore, prevents their digestive actions. However, some conditions of the cell break the membranes of some of the lysosomes, allowing release of the digestive enzymes. These enzymes then split the organic substances with which they come in contact into small, highly diffusible substances such as amino acids and glucose. Some of the specific functions of lysosomes are discussed later in the chapter.

Peroxisomes Peroxisomes are similar physically to lysosomes, but they are different in two important ways. First, they are believed to be formed by self-replication (or perhaps by budding off from the smooth endoplasmic reticulum) rather than from the Golgi apparatus. Second, they contain oxidases rather than hydrolases. Several of the oxidases are capable of combining oxygen with hydrogen ions derived from different intracellular chemicals to form hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Hydrogen peroxide is a highly oxidizing substance and is used in association with catalase, another oxidase enzyme present in large quantities in peroxisomes, to oxidize many substances that might otherwise be poisonous 15

Unit I

The Golgi apparatus functions in association with the endoplasmic reticulum. As shown in Figure 2-5, small “transport vesicles” (also called endoplasmic reticulum vesicles, or ER vesicles) continually pinch off from the endoplasmic reticulum and shortly thereafter fuse with the Golgi apparatus. In this way, substances entrapped in the ER vesicles are transported from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi apparatus. The transported substances are then processed in the Golgi apparatus to form lysosomes, secretory vesicles, and other cytoplasmic components that are discussed later in the chapter.

Unit I  Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology

to the cell. For instance, about half the alcohol a person drinks is detoxified by the peroxisomes of the liver cells in this manner.

Secretory Vesicles One of the important functions of many cells is secretion of special chemical substances. Almost all such secretory substances are formed by the endoplasmic reticulum– Golgi apparatus system and are then released from the Golgi apparatus into the cytoplasm in the form of storage vesicles called secretory vesicles or secretory granules. Figure 2-6 shows typical secretory vesicles inside pancreatic acinar cells; these vesicles store protein proenzymes (enzymes that are not yet activated). The proenzymes are secreted later through the outer cell membrane into the pancreatic duct and thence into the duodenum, where they become activated and perform digestive functions on the food in the intestinal tract.

Mitochondria The mitochondria, shown in Figures 2-2 and 2-7, are called the “powerhouses” of the cell. Without them, cells would be unable to extract enough energy from the nutrients, and essentially all cellular functions would cease. Secretory granules

Figure 2-6  Secretory granules (secretory vesicles) in acinar cells of the pancreas.

Outer membrane Inner membrane Crests

Matrix

Outer chamber

Oxidative phosphorylation enzymes

Figure 2-7  Structure of a mitochondrion. (Modified from DeRobertis EDP, Saez FA, DeRobertis EMF: Cell Biology, 6th ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1975.)

16

Mitochondria are present in all areas of each cell’s cytoplasm, but the total number per cell varies from less than a hundred up to several thousand, depending on the amount of energy required by the cell. Further, the mitochondria are concentrated in those portions of the cell that are responsible for the major share of its energy metabolism. They are also variable in size and shape. Some are only a few hundred nanometers in diameter and globular in shape, whereas others are elongated—as large as 1 micrometer in diameter and 7 micrometers long; still others are branching and filamentous. The basic structure of the mitochondrion, shown in Figure 2-7, is composed mainly of two lipid bilayer–­ protein membranes: an outer membrane and an inner membrane. Many infoldings of the inner membrane form shelves onto which oxidative enzymes are attached. In addition, the inner cavity of the mitochondrion is filled with a matrix that contains large quantities of dissolved enzymes that are necessary for extracting energy from nutrients. These enzymes operate in association with the oxidative enzymes on the shelves to cause oxidation of the nutrients, thereby forming carbon dioxide and water and at the same time releasing energy. The liberated energy is used to synthesize a “high-energy” substance called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is then transported out of the mitochondrion, and it diffuses throughout the cell to release its own energy wherever it is needed for performing cellular functions. The chemical details of ATP formation by the mitochondrion are given in Chapter 67, but some of the basic functions of ATP in the cell are introduced later in this chapter. Mitochondria are self-replicative, which means that one mitochondrion can form a second one, a third one, and so on, whenever there is a need in the cell for increased amounts of ATP. Indeed, the mitochondria contain DNA similar to that found in the cell nucleus. In Chapter 3 we will see that DNA is the basic chemical of the nucleus that controls replication of the cell. The DNA of the mitochondrion plays a similar role, controlling replication of the mitochondrion.

Cell Cytoskeleton—Filament and Tubular Structures The fibrillar proteins of the cell are usually organized into filaments or tubules. These originate as precursor protein molecules synthesized by ribosomes in the cytoplasm. The precursor molecules then polymerize to form filaments. As an example, large numbers of actin filaments frequently occur in the outer zone of the cytoplasm, called the ectoplasm, to form an elastic support for the cell membrane. Also, in muscle cells, actin and myosin filaments are organized into a special contractile machine that is the basis for muscle contraction, as discussed in detail in Chapter 6. A special type of stiff filament composed of poly­ merized tubulin molecules is used in all cells to construct strong tubular structures, the microtubules. Figure 2-8 shows typical microtubules that were teased from the flagellum of a sperm.

Chapter 2  The Cell and Its Functions Pores

Nucleoplasm Endoplasmic reticulum

Nuclear envelopeouter and inner membranes Chromatin material (DNA) Cytoplasm

Figure 2-9  Structure of the nucleus. Figure 2-8  Microtubules teased from the flagellum of a sperm. (From Wolstenholme GEW, O’Connor M, and the publisher, JA Churchill, 1967. Figure 4, page 314. Copyright the Novartis Foundation, formerly the Ciba Foundation.)

Another example of microtubules is the tubular skeletal structure in the center of each cilium that radiates upward from the cell cytoplasm to the tip of the cilium. This structure is discussed later in the chapter and is illustrated in Figure 2-17. Also, both the centrioles and the mitotic spindle of the mitosing cell are composed of stiff microtubules. Thus, a primary function of microtubules is to act as a cytoskeleton, providing rigid physical structures for certain parts of cells.

Nucleus The nucleus is the control center of the cell. Briefly, the nucleus contains large quantities of DNA, which are the genes. The genes determine the characteristics of the cell’s proteins, including the structural proteins, as well as the intracellular enzymes that control cytoplasmic and nuclear activities. The genes also control and promote reproduction of the cell itself. The genes first reproduce to give two identical sets of genes; then the cell splits by a special process called mitosis to form two daughter cells, each of which receives one of the two sets of DNA genes. All these activities of the nucleus are considered in detail in the next chapter. Unfortunately, the appearance of the nucleus under the microscope does not provide many clues to the mechanisms by which the nucleus performs its control activities. Figure 2-9 shows the light microscopic appearance of the interphase nucleus (during the period between mitoses), revealing darkly staining chromatin material throughout the nucleoplasm. During mitosis, the chromatin material organizes in the form of highly structured chromosomes, which can then be easily identified using the light microscope, as illustrated in the next chapter.

Nuclear Membrane The nuclear membrane, also called the nuclear envelope, is actually two separate bilayer membranes, one inside the other. The outer membrane is continuous with the

endoplasmic reticulum of the cell cytoplasm, and the space between the two nuclear membranes is also continuous with the space inside the endoplasmic reticulum, as shown in Figure 2-9. The nuclear membrane is penetrated by several thousand nuclear pores. Large complexes of protein molecules are attached at the edges of the pores so that the central area of each pore is only about 9 nanometers in diameter. Even this size is large enough to allow molecules up to 44,000 molecular weight to pass through with reasonable ease.

Nucleoli and Formation of Ribosomes The nuclei of most cells contain one or more highly staining structures called nucleoli. The nucleolus, unlike most other organelles discussed here, does not have a limiting membrane. Instead, it is simply an accumulation of large amounts of RNA and proteins of the types found in ribosomes. The nucleolus becomes considerably enlarged when the cell is actively synthesizing proteins. Formation of the nucleoli (and of the ribosomes in the cytoplasm outside the nucleus) begins in the nucleus. First, specific DNA genes in the chromosomes cause RNA to be synthesized. Some of this is stored in the nucleoli, but most of it is transported outward through the nuclear pores into cytoplasm. Here, it is used in conjunction with specific proteins to assemble “mature” ribosomes that play an essential role in forming cytoplasmic proteins, as discussed more fully in Chapter 3.

Comparison of the Animal Cell with Precellular Forms of Life The cell is a complicated organism that required many hundreds of millions of years to develop after the earliest form of life, an organism similar to the present-day virus, first appeared on earth. Figure 2-10 shows the relative sizes of (1) the smallest known virus, (2) a large virus, (3) a rickettsia, (4) a bacterium, and (5) a nucleated cell, demonstrating that the cell has a diameter about 1000 times that of the smallest virus and, therefore, a volume about 17

Unit I

Nucleolus

Unit I  Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology 15 nm- Small virus 150 nm- Large virus 350 nm- Rickettsia

1 mm Bacterium Cell

5–10 mm+

Figure 2-10  Comparison of sizes of precellular organisms with that of the average cell in the human body.

1 billion times that of the smallest virus. Correspondingly, the functions and anatomical organization of the cell are also far more complex than those of the virus. The essential life-giving constituent of the small virus is a nucleic acid embedded in a coat of protein. This nucleic acid is composed of the same basic nucleic acid constituents (DNA or RNA) found in mammalian cells, and it is capable of reproducing itself under appropriate conditions. Thus, the virus propagates its lineage from generation to generation and is therefore a living structure in the same way that the cell and the human being are living structures. As life evolved, other chemicals besides nucleic acid and simple proteins became integral parts of the organism, and specialized functions began to develop in different parts of the virus. A membrane formed around the virus, and inside the membrane, a fluid matrix appeared. Specialized chemicals then developed inside the fluid to perform special functions; many protein enzymes appeared that were capable of catalyzing chemical reactions and, therefore, determining the organism’s activities. In still later stages of life, particularly in the rickettsial and bacterial stages, organelles developed inside the organism, representing physical structures of chemical aggregates that perform functions in a more efficient manner than can be achieved by dispersed chemicals throughout the fluid matrix. Finally, in the nucleated cell, still more complex organelles developed, the most important of which is the nucleus itself. The nucleus distinguishes this type of cell from all lower forms of life; the nucleus provides a control center for all cellular activities, and it provides for exact reproduction of new cells generation after generation, each new cell having almost exactly the same structure as its progenitor.

Ingestion by the Cell—Endocytosis If a cell is to live and grow and reproduce, it must obtain nutrients and other substances from the surrounding fluids. Most substances pass through the cell membrane by diffusion and active transport. Diffusion involves simple movement through the membrane caused by the random motion of the molecules of the substance; substances move either through cell membrane pores or, in the case of lipid-soluble substances, through the lipid matrix of the membrane. Active transport involves the actual carrying of a substance through the membrane by a physical protein structure that penetrates all the way through the membrane. These active transport mechanisms are so important to cell function that they are presented in detail in Chapter 4. Very large particles enter the cell by a specialized function of the cell membrane called endocytosis. The principal forms of endocytosis are pinocytosis and phagocytosis. Pinocytosis means ingestion of minute particles that form vesicles of extracellular fluid and particulate constituents inside the cell cytoplasm. Phagocytosis means ingestion of large particles, such as bacteria, whole cells, or portions of degenerating tissue.

Pinocytosis.  Pinocytosis occurs continually in the cell membranes of most cells, but it is especially rapid in some cells. For instance, it occurs so rapidly in macrophages that about 3 percent of the total macrophage membrane is engulfed in the form of vesicles each minute. Even so, the pinocytotic vesicles are so small—usually only 100 to 200 nanometers in diameter—that most of them can be seen only with the electron microscope. Pinocytosis is the only means by which most large macromolecules, such as most protein molecules, can enter cells. In fact, the rate at which pinocytotic vesicles form is usually enhanced when such macromolecules attach to the cell membrane. Figure 2-11 demonstrates the successive steps of pinocytosis, showing three molecules of protein attaching to the membrane. These molecules usually attach to Proteins Clathrin

Coated pit

B

A Actin and myosin

Dissolving clathrin

Functional Systems of the Cell In the remainder of this chapter, we discuss several representative functional systems of the cell that make it a living organism. 18

C

Receptors

D

Figure 2-11  Mechanism of pinocytosis.

Chapter 2  The Cell and Its Functions

Phagocytosis.  Phagocytosis occurs in much the same way as pinocytosis, except that it involves large particles rather than molecules. Only certain cells have the capability of phagocytosis, most notably the tissue macrophages and some of the white blood cells. Phagocytosis is initiated when a particle such as a bacterium, a dead cell, or tissue debris binds with receptors on the surface of the phagocyte. In the case of bacteria, each bacterium is usually already attached to a specific antibody, and it is the antibody that attaches to the phagocyte receptors, dragging the bacterium along with it. This intermediation of antibodies is called opsonization, which is discussed in Chapters 33 and 34. Phagocytosis occurs in the following steps: 1. The cell membrane receptors attach to the surface ligands of the particle. 2. The edges of the membrane around the points of attachment evaginate outward within a fraction of a second to surround the entire particle; then, progressively more and more membrane receptors attach to the particle ligands. All this occurs suddenly in a zipper-like manner to form a closed phagocytic vesicle. 3. Actin and other contractile fibrils in the cytoplasm surround the phagocytic vesicle and contract around its outer edge, pushing the vesicle to the interior. 4. The contractile proteins then pinch the stem of the vesicle so completely that the vesicle separates from the cell membrane, leaving the vesicle in the cell interior in the same way that pinocytotic vesicles are formed.

Digestion of Pinocytotic and Phagocytic Foreign Substances Inside the Cell—Function of the Lysosomes Almost immediately after a pinocytotic or phagocytic vesicle appears inside a cell, one or more lysosomes become attached to the vesicle and empty their acid hydrolases to the inside of the vesicle, as shown in Figure 2-12. Thus, a digestive vesicle is formed inside the cell cytoplasm in which the vesicular hydrolases begin hydrolyzing the proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and other substances in the vesicle. The products of digestion are small molecules of amino acids, glucose, phosphates, and so forth that can diffuse through the membrane of the vesicle into the cytoplasm. What is left of the digestive vesicle, called the residual body, represents indigestible substances. In most instances, this is finally excreted through the cell membrane by a process called exocytosis, which is essentially the opposite of endocytosis. Thus, the pinocytotic and phagocytic vesicles containing lysosomes can be called the digestive organs of the cells.

Regression of Tissues and Autolysis of Cells.  Tissues of the body often regress to a smaller size. For instance, this occurs in the uterus after pregnancy, in muscles during long periods of inactivity, and in mammary glands at the end of lactation. Lysosomes are responsible for much of this regression. The mechanism by which lack of activity in a tissue causes the lysosomes to increase their activity is unknown. Another special role of the lysosomes is removal of damaged cells or damaged portions of cells from tissues. Damage to the cell—caused by heat, cold, trauma, chemicals, or any other factor—induces lysosomes to rupture. The released hydrolases immediately begin to digest the surrounding organic substances. If the damage is slight, only a portion of the cell is removed and the cell is then repaired. If the damage is severe, the entire cell is Lysosomes

Pinocytotic or phagocytic vesicle Digestive vesicle

Residual body

Excretion

Figure 2-12  Digestion of substances in pinocytotic or phagocytic vesicles by enzymes derived from lysosomes.

19

Unit I

s­ pecialized protein receptors on the surface of the membrane that are specific for the type of protein that is to be absorbed. The receptors generally are concentrated in small pits on the outer surface of the cell membrane, called coated pits. On the inside of the cell membrane beneath these pits is a latticework of fibrillar protein called clathrin, as well as other proteins, perhaps including contractile filaments of actin and myosin. Once the protein molecules have bound with the receptors, the surface properties of the local membrane change in such a way that the entire pit invaginates inward and the fibrillar proteins surrounding the invaginating pit cause its borders to close over the attached proteins, as well as over a small amount of extracellular fluid. Immediately thereafter, the invaginated portion of the membrane breaks away from the surface of the cell, forming a pinocytotic vesicle inside the cytoplasm of the cell. What causes the cell membrane to go through the necessary contortions to form pinocytotic vesicles is still unclear. This process requires energy from within the cell; this is supplied by ATP, a high-energy substance discussed later in the chapter. Also, it requires the presence of calcium ions in the extracellular fluid, which probably react with contractile protein filaments beneath the coated pits to provide the force for pinching the vesicles away from the cell membrane.

Unit I  Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology

digested, a process called autolysis. In this way, the cell is completely removed and a new cell of the same type ordinarily is formed by mitotic reproduction of an adjacent cell to take the place of the old one. The lysosomes also contain bactericidal agents that can kill phagocytized bacteria before they can cause cellular damage. These agents include (1) lysozyme, which dissolves the bacterial cell membrane; (2) lysoferrin, which binds iron and other substances before they can promote bacterial growth; and (3) acid at a pH of about 5.0, which activates the hydrolases and inactivates bacterial metabolic systems.

Synthesis and Formation of Cellular Structures by Endoplasmic Reticulum and Golgi Apparatus Specific Functions of the Endoplasmic Reticulum The extensiveness of the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus in secretory cells has already been emphasized. These structures are formed primarily of lipid bilayer membranes similar to the cell membrane, and their walls are loaded with protein enzymes that catalyze the synthesis of many substances required by the cell. Most synthesis begins in the endoplasmic reticulum. The products formed there are then passed on to the Golgi apparatus, where they are further processed before being released into the cytoplasm. But first, let us note the specific products that are synthesized in specific portions of the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus. Proteins Are Formed by the Granular Endoplasmic Reticulum.  The granular portion of the endoplasmic reticulum is characterized by large numbers of ribosomes attached to the outer surfaces of the endoplasmic reticulum membrane. As discussed in Chapter 3, protein molecules are synthesized within the structures of the ribosomes. The ribosomes extrude some of the synthesized protein molecules directly into the cytosol, but they also extrude many more through the wall of the endoplasmic reticulum to the interior of the endoplasmic vesicles and tubules, into the endoplasmic matrix. Synthesis of Lipids by the Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum.  The endoplasmic reticulum also synthesizes lipids, especially phospholipids and cholesterol. These are rapidly incorporated into the lipid bilayer of the endoplasmic reticulum itself, thus causing the endoplasmic reticulum to grow more extensive. This occurs mainly in the smooth portion of the endoplasmic reticulum. To keep the endoplasmic reticulum from growing beyond the needs of the cell, small vesicles called ER vesicles or transport vesicles continually break away from the smooth reticulum; most of these vesicles then migrate rapidly to the Golgi apparatus. Other Functions of the Endoplasmic Reticulum.  Other significant functions of the endoplasmic reticulum, especially the smooth reticulum, include the following: 20

1. It provides the enzymes that control glycogen breakdown when glycogen is to be used for energy. 2. It provides a vast number of enzymes that are capable of detoxifying substances, such as drugs, that might damage the cell. It achieves detoxification by coagulation, oxidation, hydrolysis, conjugation with glycuronic acid, and in other ways.

Specific Functions of the Golgi Apparatus Synthetic Functions of the Golgi Apparatus.  Although the major function of the Golgi apparatus is to provide additional processing of substances already formed in the endoplasmic reticulum, it also has the capability of synthesizing certain carbohydrates that cannot be formed in the endoplasmic reticulum. This is especially true for the formation of large saccharide polymers bound with small amounts of protein; important examples include hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate. A few of the many functions of hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate in the body are as follows: (1) they are the major components of proteoglycans secreted in mucus and other glandular secretions; (2) they are the major components of the ground substance outside the cells in the interstitial spaces, acting as fillers between collagen fibers and cells; (3) they are principal components of the organic matrix in both cartilage and bone; and (4) they are important in many cell activities including migration and proliferation. Processing of Endoplasmic Secretions by the Golgi Apparatus—Formation of Vesicles.  Figure 2-13 summarizes the major functions of the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus. As substances are formed in the endoplasmic reticulum, especially the proteins, they are transported through the tubules toward portions of the smooth endoplasmic reticulum that lie nearest the Protein Ribosomes formation

Glycosylation

Lipid formation

Lysosomes

Secretory vesicles

Transport vesicles

Granular Smooth Golgi endoplasmic endoplasmic apparatus reticulum reticulum

Figure 2-13  Formation of proteins, lipids, and cellular vesicles by the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus.

Chapter 2  The Cell and Its Functions

Extraction of Energy from Nutrients—Function of the Mitochondria The principal substances from which cells extract energy are foodstuffs that react chemically with oxygen—carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. In the human body, essentially all carbohydrates are converted into glucose by the digestive tract and liver before they reach the other cells of the body. Similarly, proteins are converted into amino acids and fats into fatty acids. Figure 2-14 shows oxygen and the foodstuffs—glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids—all entering the cell. Inside the cell, the foodstuffs react chemically with oxygen, under the influence of enzymes that control the reactions and channel the energy released in the proper direction. The details of all these digestive and metabolic functions are given in Chapters 62 through 72. Briefly, almost all these oxidative reactions occur inside the mitochondria and the energy that is released is used to form the high-energy compound ATP. Then, ATP, not the original foodstuffs, is used throughout the cell to energize almost all the subsequent intracellular metabolic reactions.

Functional Characteristics of ATP NH2 N HC N

C C

C

N

N

CH2

O C H

Adenine

CH

H

H

C

C

C

H

O

O

O

O

P

O~ P

O~P

O-

OPhosphate

O-

O-

OH OH Ribose Adenosine triphosphate

ATP is a nucleotide composed of (1) the nitrogenous base adenine, (2) the pentose sugar ribose, and (3) three phosphate radicals. The last two phosphate radicals are connected with the remainder of the molecule by so-called high-energy phosphate bonds, which are represented in the formula shown by the symbol ~. Under the physical and chemical conditions of the body, each of these highenergy bonds contains about 12,000 calories of energy per mole of ATP, which is many times greater than the energy stored in the average chemical bond, thus giving rise to the term high-energy bond. Further, the high-energy phosphate bond is very labile so that it can be split instantly on demand whenever energy is required to promote other intracellular reactions. When ATP releases its energy, a phosphoric acid radical is split away and adenosine diphosphate (ADP) is formed. This released energy is used to energize virtually many of the cell’s other functions, such as synthesis of substances and muscular contraction. 21

Unit I

Golgi apparatus. At this point, small transport vesicles composed of small envelopes of smooth endoplasmic reticulum continually break away and diffuse to the deepest layer of the Golgi apparatus. Inside these vesicles are the synthesized proteins and other products from the endoplasmic reticulum. The transport vesicles instantly fuse with the Golgi apparatus and empty their contained substances into the vesicular spaces of the Golgi apparatus. Here, additional carbohydrate moieties are added to the secretions. Also, an important function of the Golgi apparatus is to compact the endoplasmic reticular secretions into highly concentrated packets. As the secretions pass toward the outermost layers of the Golgi apparatus, the compaction and processing proceed. Finally, both small and large vesicles continually break away from the Golgi apparatus, carrying with them the compacted secretory substances, and in turn, the vesicles diffuse throughout the cell. To give an idea of the timing of these processes: When a glandular cell is bathed in radioactive amino acids, newly formed radioactive protein molecules can be detected in the granular endoplasmic reticulum within 3 to 5 minutes. Within 20 minutes, newly formed proteins are already present in the Golgi apparatus, and within 1 to 2 hours, radioactive proteins are secreted from the surface of the cell. Types of Vesicles Formed by the Golgi Apparatus— Secretory Vesicles and Lysosomes.  In a highly secretory cell, the vesicles formed by the Golgi apparatus are mainly secretory vesicles containing protein substances that are to be secreted through the surface of the cell membrane. These secretory vesicles first diffuse to the cell membrane, then fuse with it and empty their substances to the exterior by the mechanism called exocytosis. Exocytosis, in most cases, is stimulated by the entry of calcium ions into the cell; calcium ions interact with the vesicular membrane in some way that is not understood and cause its fusion with the cell membrane, followed by exocytosis—that is, opening of the membrane’s outer surface and extrusion of its contents outside the cell. Some vesicles, however, are destined for intracellular use. Use of Intracellular Vesicles to Replenish Cellular Membranes.  Some of the intracellular vesicles formed by the Golgi apparatus fuse with the cell membrane or with the membranes of intracellular structures such as the mitochondria and even the endoplasmic reticulum. This increases the expanse of these membranes and thereby replenishes the membranes as they are used up. For instance, the cell membrane loses much of its substance every time it forms a phagocytic or pinocytotic vesicle, and the vesicular membranes of the Golgi apparatus continually replenish the cell membrane. In summary, the membranous system of the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus represents a highly metabolic organ capable of forming new intracellular structures, as well as secretory substances to be extruded from the cell.

Unit I  Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology

2ADP Glucose

Gl

Fatty acids

FA

Amino acids

AA

O2

O2

CO2

CO2

H2O

2ATP 36 ADP Pyruvic acid Acetoacetic acid Acetyl-CoA ADP

O2

CO2 + H2O

H2O

ATP

36 ATP

Mitochondrion Cell membrane

Cytoplasm

Figure 2-14  Formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the cell, showing that most of the ATP is formed in the mitochondria. ADP, adenosine diphosphate.

To reconstitute the cellular ATP as it is used up, energy derived from the cellular nutrients causes ADP and phosphoric acid to recombine to form new ATP, and the entire process repeats over and over again. For these reasons, ATP has been called the energy currency of the cell because it can be spent and remade continually, having a turnover time of only a few minutes. Chemical Processes in the Formation of ATP—Role of the Mitochondria.  On entry into the cells, glucose is subjected to enzymes in the cytoplasm that convert it into pyruvic acid (a process called glycolysis). A small amount of ADP is changed into ATP by the energy released during this conversion, but this amount accounts for less than 5 percent of the overall energy metabolism of the cell. About 95 percent of the cell’s ATP formation occurs in the mitochondria. The pyruvic acid derived from carbohydrates, fatty acids from lipids, and amino acids from proteins is eventually converted into the compound ­acetyl-CoA in the matrix of the mitochondrion. This substance, in turn, is further dissoluted (for the purpose of extracting its energy) by another series of enzymes in the mitochondrion matrix, undergoing dissolution in a sequence of chemical reactions called the citric acid cycle, or Krebs cycle. These chemical reactions are so important that they are explained in detail in Chapter 67. In this citric acid cycle, acetyl-CoA is split into its component parts, hydrogen atoms and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide diffuses out of the mitochondria and eventually out of the cell; finally, it is excreted from the body through the lungs. The hydrogen atoms, conversely, are highly reactive, and they combine instantly with oxygen that has also diffused into the mitochondria. This releases a tremendous amount of energy, which is used by the mitochondria to convert large amounts of ADP to ATP. The processes of these reactions are complex, requiring the 22

participation of many protein enzymes that are integral parts of mitochondrial membranous shelves that protrude into the mitochondrial matrix. The initial event is removal of an electron from the hydrogen atom, thus converting it to a hydrogen ion. The terminal event is combination of hydrogen ions with oxygen to form water plus the release of tremendous amounts of energy to large globular proteins, called ATP synthetase, that protrude like knobs from the membranes of the mitochondrial shelves. Finally, the enzyme ATP synthetase uses the energy from the hydrogen ions to cause the conversion of ADP to ATP. The newly formed ATP is transported out of the mitochondria into all parts of the cell cytoplasm and nucleoplasm, where its energy is used to energize multiple cell functions. This overall process for formation of ATP is called the chemiosmotic mechanism of ATP formation. The chemical and physical details of this mechanism are presented in Chapter 67, and many of the detailed metabolic functions of ATP in the body are presented in Chapters 67 through 71. Uses of ATP for Cellular Function.  Energy from ATP is used to promote three major categories of cellular functions: (1) transport of substances through multiple membranes in the cell, (2) synthesis of chemical compounds throughout the cell, and (3) mechanical work. These uses of ATP are illustrated by examples in Figure 2-15: (1) to supply energy for the transport of sodium through the cell membrane, (2) to promote protein synthesis by the ribosomes, and (3) to supply the energy needed during muscle contraction. In addition to membrane transport of sodium, energy from ATP is required for membrane transport of potassium ions, calcium ions, magnesium ions, phosphate ions, Ribosomes Membrane transport

Na+

Na+

Endoplasmic reticulum

Protein synthesis ATP ADP

ADP Mitochondrion ATP

ATP

ADP

ATP

ADP

Muscle contraction

Figure 2-15  Use of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (formed in the mitochondrion) to provide energy for three major cellular functions: membrane transport, protein synthesis, and muscle contraction. ADP, adenosine diphosphate.

Chapter 2  The Cell and Its Functions

Locomotion of Cells By far the most important type of movement that occurs in the body is that of the muscle cells in skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscle, which constitute almost 50 percent of the entire body mass. The specialized functions of these cells are discussed in Chapters 6 through 9. Two other types of movement—ameboid locomotion and ciliary movement—occur in other cells.

Ameboid Movement Ameboid movement is movement of an entire cell in relation to its surroundings, such as movement of white blood cells through tissues. It receives its name from the fact that amebae move in this manner and have provided an excellent tool for studying the phenomenon. Typically, ameboid locomotion begins with protrusion of a pseudopodium from one end of the cell. The pseudopodium projects far out, away from the cell body, and partially secures itself in a new tissue area. Then the remainder of the cell is pulled toward the pseudopodium. Figure 2-16 demonstrates this process, showing an elon-

Movement of cell Endocytosis Pseudopodium

Exocytosis

Surrounding tissue

Receptor binding

Figure 2-16  Ameboid motion by a cell.

gated cell, the right-hand end of which is a protruding pseudopodium. The membrane of this end of the cell is continually moving forward, and the membrane at the left-hand end of the cell is continually following along as the cell moves.

Mechanism of Ameboid Locomotion.  Figure 2-16 shows the general principle of ameboid motion. Basically, it results from continual formation of new cell membrane at the leading edge of the pseudopodium and continual absorption of the membrane in mid and rear portions of the cell. Also, two other effects are essential for forward movement of the cell. The first effect is attachment of the pseudopodium to surrounding tissues so that it becomes fixed in its leading position, while the remainder of the cell body is pulled forward toward the point of attachment. This attachment is effected by receptor proteins that line the insides of exocytotic vesicles. When the vesicles become part of the pseudopodial membrane, they open so that their insides evert to the outside, and the receptors now protrude to the outside and attach to ligands in the surrounding tissues. At the opposite end of the cell, the receptors pull away from their ligands and form new endocytotic vesicles. Then, inside the cell, these vesicles stream toward the pseudopodial end of the cell, where they are used to form still new membrane for the pseudopodium. The second essential effect for locomotion is to provide the energy required to pull the cell body in the direction of the pseudopodium. Experiments suggest the following as an explanation: In the cytoplasm of all cells is a moderate to large amount of the protein actin. Much of the actin is in the form of single molecules that do not provide any motive power; however, these polymerize to form a filamentous network, and the network contracts when it binds with an actin-binding protein such as myosin. The whole process is energized by the high-energy compound ATP. This is what happens in the pseudopodium of a moving cell, where such a network of actin filaments forms anew inside the enlarging pseudopodium. Contraction also occurs in the ectoplasm of the cell body, where a preexisting actin network is already present beneath the cell membrane. 23

Unit I

chloride ions, urate ions, hydrogen ions, and many other ions and various organic substances. Membrane transport is so important to cell function that some cells—the renal tubular cells, for instance—use as much as 80 percent of the ATP that they form for this purpose alone. In addition to synthesizing proteins, cells make phospholipids, cholesterol, purines, pyrimidines, and a host of other substances. Synthesis of almost any chemical compound requires energy. For instance, a single protein molecule might be composed of as many as several thousand amino acids attached to one another by peptide linkages; the formation of each of these linkages requires energy derived from the breakdown of four high-energy bonds; thus, many thousand ATP molecules must release their energy as each protein molecule is formed. Indeed, some cells use as much as 75 percent of all the ATP formed in the cell simply to synthesize new chemical compounds, especially protein molecules; this is particularly true during the growth phase of cells. The final major use of ATP is to supply energy for special cells to perform mechanical work. We see in Chapter 6 that each contraction of a muscle fiber requires expenditure of tremendous quantities of ATP energy. Other cells perform mechanical work in other ways, especially by ciliary and ameboid motion, described later in this chapter. The source of energy for all these types of mechanical work is ATP. In summary, ATP is always available to release its energy rapidly and almost explosively wherever in the cell it is needed. To replace the ATP used by the cell, much slower chemical reactions break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins and use the energy derived from these to form new ATP. More than 95 percent of this ATP is formed in the mitochondria, which accounts for the mitochondria being called the “powerhouses” of the cell.

Unit I  Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology

Control of Ameboid Locomotion—Chemotaxis.  The most important initiator of ameboid locomotion is the process called chemotaxis. This results from the appearance of certain chemical substances in the tissues. Any chemical substance that causes chemotaxis to occur is called a chemotactic substance. Most cells that exhibit ameboid locomotion move toward the source of a chemotactic substance—that is, from an area of lower concentration toward an area of higher concentration—which is called positive chemotaxis. Some cells move away from the source, which is called negative chemotaxis. But how does chemotaxis control the direction of ameboid locomotion? Although the answer is not certain, it is known that the side of the cell most exposed to the chemotactic substance develops membrane changes that cause pseudopodial protrusion. Cilia and Ciliary Movements A second type of cellular motion, ciliary movement, is a whiplike movement of cilia on the surfaces of cells. This occurs in only two places in the human body: on the surfaces of the respiratory airways and on the inside surfaces of the uterine tubes (fallopian tubes) of the reproductive tract. In the nasal cavity and lower respiratory airways, the whiplike motion of cilia causes a layer of mucus to move at a rate of about 1 cm/min toward the pharynx, in this way continually clearing these passageways of mucus and particles that have become trapped in the mucus. In the uterine tubes, the cilia cause slow movement of fluid from the ostium of the uterine tube toward the uterus cavity; this movement of fluid transports the ovum from the ovary to the uterus. As shown in Figure 2-17, a cilium has the appearance of a sharp-pointed straight or curved hair that projects 2 to 4 micrometers from the surface of the cell. Many cilia often project from a single cell—for instance, as many as 200 cilia on the surface of each epithelial cell inside the respiratory passageways. The cilium is covered by an outcropping of the cell membrane, and it is supported by 11 microtubules—9 double tubules located around the periphery of the cilium and 2 single tubules down 24

Tip

Membrane Ciliary stalk

Types of Cells That Exhibit Ameboid Locomotion.  The most common cells to exhibit ameboid locomotion in the human body are the white blood cells when they move out of the blood into the tissues to form tissue macrophages. Other types of cells can also move by ameboid locomotion under certain circumstances. For instance, fibroblasts move into a damaged area to help repair the damage and even the germinal cells of the skin, though ordinarily completely sessile cells, move toward a cut area to repair the opening. Finally, cell locomotion is especially important in development of the embryo and fetus after fertilization of an ovum. For instance, embryonic cells often must migrate long distances from their sites of origin to new areas during development of special structures.

Cross section

Filament

Forward stroke

Basal plate Cell membrane

Backward stroke

Basal body Rootlet

Figure 2-17  Structure and function of the cilium. (Modified from Satir P: Cilia. Sci Am 204:108, 1961. Copyright Donald Garber: Executor of the estate of Bunji Tagawa.)

the center, as demonstrated in the cross section shown in Figure 2-17. Each cilium is an outgrowth of a structure that lies immediately beneath the cell membrane, called the basal body of the cilium. The flagellum of a sperm is similar to a cilium; in fact, it has much the same type of structure and same type of contractile mechanism. The flagellum, however, is much longer and moves in quasi-sinusoidal waves instead of whiplike movements. In the inset of Figure 2-17, movement of the cilium is shown. The cilium moves forward with a sudden, rapid whiplike stroke 10 to 20 times per second, bending sharply where it projects from the surface of the cell. Then it moves backward slowly to its initial position. The rapid forward-thrusting, whiplike movement pushes the fluid lying adjacent to the cell in the direction that the cilium moves; the slow, dragging movement in the backward direction has almost no effect on fluid movement. As a result, the fluid is continually propelled in the direction of the fast-forward stroke. Because most ciliated cells have large numbers of cilia on their surfaces and because all the cilia are oriented in the same direction, this is an effective means for moving fluids from one part of the surface to another.

Chapter 2  The Cell and Its Functions

Bibliography Alberts B, Johnson A, Lewis J, et al: Molecular Biology of the Cell, 6th ed, New York, 2007, Garland Science. Bonifacino JS, Glick BS: The mechanisms of vesicle budding and fusion, Cell 116:153, 2004.

Chacinska A, Koehler CM, Milenkovic D, Lithgow T, Pfanner N: Importing mitochondrial proteins: machineries and mechanisms, Cell 138:628, 2009. Cohen AW, Hnasko R, Schubert W, Lisanti MP: Role of caveolae and caveolins in health and disease, Physiol Rev 84:1341, 2004. Danial NN, Korsmeyer SJ: Cell death: critical control points, Cell 116:205, 2004. Dröge W: Free radicals in the physiological control of cell function, Physiol Rev 82:47, 2002. Edidin M: Lipids on the frontier: a century of cell-membrane bilayers, Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 4:414, 2003. Ginger ML, Portman N, McKean PG: Swimming with protists: perception, motility and flagellum assembly, Nat Rev Microbiol 6:838, 2008. Grant BD, Donaldson JG: Pathways and mechanisms of endocytic recycling, Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 10:597, 2009. Güttinger S, Laurell E, Kutay U: Orchestrating nuclear envelope disassembly and reassembly during mitosis, Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 10:178, 2009. Hamill OP, Martinac B: Molecular basis of mechanotransduction in living cells, Physiol Rev 81:685, 2001. Hock MB, Kralli A: Transcriptional control of mitochondrial biogenesis and function, Annu Rev Physiol 71:177, 2009. Liesa M, Palacín M, Zorzano A: Mitochondrial dynamics in mammalian health and disease, Physiol Rev 89:799, 2009. Mattaj IW: Sorting out the nuclear envelope from the endoplasmic reticulum, Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 5:65, 2004. Parton RG, Simons K: The multiple faces of caveolae, Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 8:185, 2007. Raiborg C, Stenmark H: The ESCRT machinery in endosomal sorting of ubiquitylated membrane proteins, Nature 458:445, 2009. Ridley AJ, Schwartz MA, Burridge K, et al: Cell migration: integrating signals from front to back, Science 302:1704, 2003. Saftig P, Klumperman J: Lysosome biogenesis and lysosomal membrane proteins: trafficking meets function, Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 10:623, 2009. Scarpulla RC: Transcriptional paradigms in mammalian mitochondrial biogenesis and function, Physiol Rev 88:611, 2008. Stenmark H: Rab GTPases as coordinators of vesicle traffic, Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 10:513, 2009. Traub LM: Tickets to ride: selecting cargo for clathrin-regulated internalization, Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 10:583, 2009. Vereb G, Szollosi J, Matko J, et al: Dynamic, yet structured: the cell membrane three decades after the Singer-Nicolson model, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 100:8053, 2003.

25

Unit I

Mechanism of Ciliary Movement.  Although not all aspects of ciliary movement are clear, we do know the following: First, the nine double tubules and the two single tubules are all linked to one another by a complex of protein cross-linkages; this total complex of tubules and cross-linkages is called the axoneme. Second, even after removal of the membrane and destruction of other elements of the cilium besides the axoneme, the cilium can still beat under appropriate conditions. Third, there are two necessary conditions for continued beating of the axoneme after removal of the other structures of the cilium: (1) the availability of ATP and (2) appropriate ionic conditions, especially appropriate concentrations of magnesium and calcium. Fourth, during forward motion of the cilium, the double tubules on the front edge of the cilium slide outward toward the tip of the cilium, while those on the back edge remain in place. Fifth, multiple protein arms composed of the protein dynein, which has ATPase enzymatic activity, project from each double tubule toward an adjacent double tubule. Given this basic information, it has been determined that the release of energy from ATP in contact with the ATPase dynein arms causes the heads of these arms to “crawl” rapidly along the surface of the adjacent double tubule. If the front tubules crawl outward while the back tubules remain stationary, this will cause bending. The way in which cilia contraction is controlled is not understood. The cilia of some genetically abnormal cells do not have the two central single tubules, and these cilia fail to beat. Therefore, it is presumed that some signal, perhaps an electrochemical signal, is transmitted along these two central tubules to activate the dynein arms.

This page intentionally left blank

chapter 3

Virtually everyone knows that the genes, located in the nuclei of all cells of the body, control heredity from parents to children, but most people do not realize that these same genes also control day-to-day function of all the body’s cells. The genes control cell function by determining which substances are synthesized within the cell—which structures, which enzymes, which chemicals. Figure 3-1 shows the general schema of genetic ­control. Each gene, which is a nucleic acid called deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), automatically controls the formation of another nucleic acid, ribonucleic acid (RNA); this RNA then spreads throughout the cell to control the formation of a specific protein. The entire process, from transcription of the genetic code in the nucleus to translation of the RNA code and formation or proteins in the cell ­c ytoplasm, is often referred to as gene expression. Because there are approximately 30,000 different genes in each cell, it is theoretically possible to form a large ­number of different cellular proteins. Some of the cellular proteins are structural proteins, which, in association with various lipids and ­carbo­hydrates, form the structures of the various intracellular organelles discussed in Chapter 2. However, the majority of the proteins are enzymes that catalyze the different chemical reactions in the cells. For instance, enzymes promote all the oxidative reactions that supply energy to the cell, and they promote synthesis of all the cell chemicals, such as lipids, glycogen, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Genes in the Cell Nucleus In the cell nucleus, large numbers of genes are attached end on end in extremely long double-stranded helical molecules of DNA having molecular weights measured in the billions. A very short segment of such a molecule is shown in Figure 3-2. This molecule is composed of ­several simple chemical compounds bound together in a

regular pattern, details of which are explained in the next few paragraphs.

Basic Building Blocks of DNA.  Figure 3-3 shows the basic chemical compounds involved in the formation of DNA. These include (1) phosphoric acid, (2) a sugar called deoxyribose, and (3) four nitrogenous bases (two purines, adenine and guanine, and two pyrimidines, thymine and cytosine). The phosphoric acid and deoxyribose form the two helical strands that are the backbone of the DNA molecule, and the nitrogenous bases lie between the two strands and connect them, as illustrated in Figure 3-6. Nucleotides.  The first stage in the formation of DNA is to combine one molecule of phosphoric acid, one molecule of deoxyribose, and one of the four bases to form an acidic nucleotide. Four separate nucleotides are thus formed, one for each of the four bases: deoxyadenylic, deoxythymidylic, deoxyguanylic, and deoxycytidylic acids. Figure 3-4 shows the chemical structure of deoxyadenylic Plasma membrane

Nuclear envelope

Nucleus DNA DNA transcription RNA RNA splicing

Gene (DNA) Transcription RNA formation

Translation

RNA transport

Ribosomes

Translation of messenger RNA Protein

Protein formation Cell structure

Cell enzymes

Cytosol Cell function

Figure 3-1.  General schema by which the genes control cell function.

27

Unit I

Genetic Control of Protein Synthesis, Cell Function, and Cell Reproduction

Unit I  Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology H

H

H

Phosphate H O

H

O

C

P

O

O

C H

H

Figure 3-2.  The helical, double-stranded structure of the gene. The outside strands are composed of phosphoric acid and the sugar deoxyribose. The internal molecules connecting the two strands of the helix are purine and pyrimidine bases; these determine the “code” of the gene.

Adenine N C C C N O C

C

H

N

N

H

C

C

H Deoxyribose

C

H

H

H O H

Figure 3-4.  Deoxyadenylic acid, one of the nucleotides that make up DNA.

each DNA strand is composed of alternating phosphoric acid and deoxyribose molecules. In turn, purine and pyrimidine bases are attached to the sides of the deoxyribose molecules. Then, by means of loose hydrogen bonds (dashed lines) between the purine and pyrimidine bases, the two respective DNA strands are held together. But note the following:

acid, and Figure 3-5 shows simple symbols for the four nucleotides that form DNA.

Organization of the Nucleotides to Form Two Strands of DNA Loosely Bound to Each Other.  Figure 3-6 shows the manner in which multiple numbers of nucleotides are bound together to form two strands of DNA. The two strands are, in turn, loosely bonded with each other by weak cross-linkages, illustrated in Figure 3-6 by the central dashed lines. Note that the backbone of

Figure 3-3.  The basic building blocks of DNA.

N

1. Each purine base adenine of one strand always bonds with a pyrimidine base thymine of the other strand, and 2. Each purine base guanine always bonds with a pyrimidine base cytosine. Phosphoric acid

O

H

P

O

O

H

O H H

Deoxyribose H

O

H

H

C

C

H

O C

H

O

C C

O

H

H H

H Bases

H N

H

C N

C C

N C

N

H H N

N C

O

O

C

C

H

N

C

C H

H

H

H

H

C

Thymine

Adenine

H O N H

C N

C C

C

N

H

C

N

N H

O

N

H

Guanine Purines

H

C

H

C

C

H

H

28

N

N

C H

Cytosine Pyrimidines

H

Chapter 3  Genetic Control of Protein Synthesis, Cell Function, and Cell Reproduction

twist them into a helix. Ten pairs of nucleotides are present in each full turn of the helix in the DNA molecule, as shown in Figure 3-2.

T P D Deoxythymidylic acid

G

Genetic Code The importance of DNA lies in its ability to control the formation of proteins in the cell. It does this by means of a genetic code. That is, when the two strands of a DNA molecule are split apart, this exposes the purine and pyrimidine bases projecting to the side of each DNA strand, as shown by the top strand in Figure 3-7. It is these p ­ rojecting bases that form the genetic code. The genetic code consists of successive “triplets” of bases—that is, each three successive bases is a code word. The successive triplets eventually control the sequence of amino acids in a protein molecule that is to be synthesized in the cell. Note in Figure 3-6 that the top strand of DNA, reading from left to right, has the genetic code GGC, AGA, CTT, the triplets being separated from one another by the arrows. As we follow this genetic code through Figures 3-7 and 3-8, we see that these three respective triplets are responsible for successive placement of the three amino acids, proline, serine, and glutamic acid, in a newly formed molecule of protein.

C

P D Deoxyguanylic acid

P D Deoxycytidylic acid

Figure 3-5.  Symbols for the four nucleotides that combine to form DNA. Each nucleotide contains phosphoric acid (P), deoxyribose (D), and one of the four nucleotide bases: A, adenine; T, thymine; G, guanine; or C, cytosine.

Thus, in Figure 3-6, the sequence of complementary pairs of bases is CG, CG, GC, TA, CG, TA, GC, AT, and AT. Because of the looseness of the hydrogen bonds, the two strands can pull apart with ease, and they do so many times during the course of their function in the cell. To put the DNA of Figure 3-6 into its proper physical perspective, one could merely pick up the two ends and

D

P

D

P

D

P

D

P

D

P

D

P

D

P

D

P

D G

G

C

A

G

A

C

T

T

P P

C

C

G

T

C

T

G

A

A

D

P

D

P

D

P

D

P

D

P

D

P

D

P

D

P

Figure 3-6.  Arrangement of deoxyribose nucleotides in a double strand of DNA.

D

DNA strand D

P

D

P

D

P

D C

A

G

A

C

R

P

R

P

R

P

R

P

D

P

G

D G

RNA molecule

P

T

P

G

T

D

P

U

P

R

C

D

P

U

P

R

G

D

P

C

P

C

Figure 3-7.  Combination of ribose nucleotides with a strand of DNA to form a molecule of RNA that carries the genetic code from the gene to the cytoplasm. The RNA polymerase enzyme moves along the DNA strand and builds the RNA molecule.

A

R

R

P

P

P P

Triphosphate

P RNA polymerase

C P

R

C P

R

Proline

G P

R

U P

R

C P

R

Serine

U P

R

G P

R

A P

R

A P

R

Figure 3-8.  Portion of an RNA molecule, showing three RNA “codons”—CCG, UCU, and GAA—that control attachment of the three amino acids, proline, serine, and glutamic acid, respectively, to the growing RNA chain.

Glutamic acid

29

Unit I

P D Deoxyadenylic acid

P

A

Unit I  Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology

The DNA Code in the Cell Nucleus Is Transferred to an RNA Code in the Cell Cytoplasm—The Process of Transcription Because the DNA is located in the nucleus of the cell, yet most of the functions of the cell are carried out in the cytoplasm, there must be some means for the DNA genes of the nucleus to control the chemical reactions of the cytoplasm. This is achieved through the intermediary of another type of nucleic acid, RNA, the formation of which is controlled by the DNA of the nucleus. Thus, as shown in Figure 3-7, the code is transferred to the RNA; this process is called transcription. The RNA, in turn, diffuses from the nucleus through nuclear pores into the cytoplasmic compartment, where it controls protein synthesis.

Synthesis of RNA During synthesis of RNA, the two strands of the DNA molecule separate temporarily; one of these strands is used as a template for synthesis of an RNA molecule. The code triplets in the DNA cause formation of complementary code triplets (called codons) in the RNA; these codons, in turn, will control the sequence of amino acids in a protein to be synthesized in the cell cytoplasm.

Basic Building Blocks of RNA.  The basic building blocks of RNA are almost the same as those of DNA, except for two differences. First, the sugar deoxyribose is not used in the formation of RNA. In its place is another sugar of slightly different composition, ribose, containing an extra hydroxyl ion appended to the ribose ring structure. Second, thymine is replaced by another pyrimidine, uracil. Formation of RNA Nucleotides.  The basic building blocks of RNA form RNA nucleotides, exactly as previously described for DNA synthesis. Here again, four separate nucleotides are used in the formation of RNA. These nucleotides contain the bases adenine, guanine, cytosine, and uracil. Note that these are the same bases as in DNA, except that uracil in RNA replaces thymine in DNA. “Activation” of the RNA Nucleotides.  The next step in the synthesis of RNA is “activation” of the RNA nucleotides by an enzyme, RNA polymerase. This occurs by adding to each nucleotide two extra phosphate radicals to form triphosphates (shown in Figure 3-7 by the two RNA nucleotides to the far right during RNA chain formation). These last two phosphates are combined with the nucleotide by high-energy phosphate bonds derived from ATP in the cell. The result of this activation process is that large quantities of ATP energy are made available to each of the nucleotides, and this energy is used to promote the chemical 30

reactions that add each new RNA nucleotide at the end of the developing RNA chain.

Assembly of the RNA Chain from Activated Nucleotides Using the DNA Strand as a Template—The Process of “Transcription” Assembly of the RNA molecule is accomplished in the manner shown in Figure 3-7 under the influence of an enzyme, RNA polymerase. This is a large protein enzyme that has many functional properties necessary for formation of the RNA molecule. They are as follows: 1. In the DNA strand immediately ahead of the initial gene is a sequence of nucleotides called the promoter. The RNA polymerase has an appropriate complementary structure that recognizes this promoter and becomes attached to it. This is the essential step for initiating formation of the RNA molecule. 2. After the RNA polymerase attaches to the promoter, the polymerase causes unwinding of about two turns of the DNA helix and separation of the unwound portions of the two strands. 3. Then the polymerase moves along the DNA strand, temporarily unwinding and separating the two DNA strands at each stage of its movement. As it moves along, it adds at each stage a new activated RNA nucleotide to the end of the newly forming RNA chain by the following steps: a. First, it causes a hydrogen bond to form between the end base of the DNA strand and the base of an RNA nucleotide in the nucleoplasm. b. Then, one at a time, the RNA polymerase breaks two of the three phosphate radicals away from each of these RNA nucleotides, liberating large amounts of energy from the broken high-energy phosphate bonds; this energy is used to cause covalent linkage of the remaining phosphate on the nucleotide with the ribose on the end of the growing RNA chain. c. When the RNA polymerase reaches the end of the DNA gene, it encounters a new sequence of DNA nucleotides called the chain-terminating sequence; this causes the polymerase and the newly formed RNA chain to break away from the DNA strand. Then the polymerase can be used again and again to form still more new RNA chains. d. As the new RNA strand is formed, its weak hydrogen bonds with the DNA template break away, because the DNA has a high affinity for rebonding with its own complementary DNA strand. Thus, the RNA chain is forced away from the DNA and is released into the nucleoplasm. Thus, the code that is present in the DNA strand is eventually transmitted in complementary form to the RNA chain. The ribose nucleotide bases always combine with the deoxyribose bases in the following combinations:

Chapter 3  Genetic Control of Protein Synthesis, Cell Function, and Cell Reproduction

4. MicroRNA (miRNA), which are single-stranded RNA molecules of 21 to 23 nucleotides that can regulate gene transcription and translation.

RNA Base

guanine



cytosine

cytosine    

guanine

adenine

uracil

Messenger RNA—The Codons

adenine

mRNA molecules are long, single RNA strands that are suspended in the cytoplasm. These molecules are composed of several hundred to several thousand RNA nucleotides in unpaired strands, and they contain codons that are exactly complementary to the code triplets of the DNA genes. Figure 3-8 shows a small segment of a molecule of messenger RNA. Its codons are CCG, UCU, and GAA. These are the codons for the amino acids proline, serine, and glutamic acid. The transcription of these codons from the DNA molecule to the RNA molecule is shown in Figure 3-7.



thymine    

Four Different Types of RNA.  Each type of RNA plays an independent and entirely different role in protein formation: 1. Messenger RNA (mRNA), which carries the genetic code to the cytoplasm for controlling the type of protein formed. 2. Transfer RNA (tRNA), which transports activated amino acids to the ribosomes to be used in assembling the protein molecule. 3. Ribosomal RNA, which, along with about 75 different proteins, forms ribosomes, the physical and chemical structures on which protein molecules are actually assembled.

RNA Codons for the Different Amino Acids.  Table 3-1 gives the RNA codons for the 22 common amino acids found in protein molecules. Note that most of the amino acids are represented by more than one codon;

Table 3-1.  RNA Codons for Amino Acids and for Start and Stop Amino Acid

RNA Codons

Alanine

GCU

GCC

GCA

GCG

Arginine

CGU

CGC

CGA

CGG

Asparagine

AAU

AAC

GGA

GGG

Aspartic acid

GAU

GAC

Cysteine

UGU

UGC

Glutamic acid

GAA

GAG

Glutamine

CAA

CAG

Glycine

GGU

GGC

Histidine

CAU

CAC

Isoleucine

AUU

AUC

AUA

Leucine

CUU

CUC

CUA

CUG

Lysine

AAA

AAG

Methionine

AUG

Phenylalanine

UUU

UUC

Proline

CCU

CCC

CCA

CCG

Serine

UCU

UCC

UCA

UCG

Threonine

ACU

ACC

ACA

ACG

Tryptophan

UGG

Tyrosine

UAU

UAC

Valine

GUU

GUC

GUA

GUG

Start (CI)

AUG

Stop (CT)

UAA

UAG

UGA

AGA

AGG

UUA

UUG

AGC

AGU

CI, chain-initiating; CT, chain-terminating.

31

Unit I

DNA Base

Unit I  Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology

also, one codon represents the signal “start manufacturing the protein molecule,” and three codons represent “stop manufacturing the protein molecule.” In Table 3-1, these two types of codons are designated CI for “chain­initiating” and CT for “chain-terminating.”

­ onding with the codon bases of the mRNA. In this way, b the respective amino acids are lined up one after another along the mRNA chain, thus establishing the appropriate sequence of amino acids in the newly ­forming protein molecule.

Transfer RNA—The Anticodons

Ribosomal RNA

Another type of RNA that plays an essential role in protein synthesis is called tRNA because it transfers amino acid molecules to protein molecules as the protein is being synthesized. Each type of tRNA combines specifically with 1 of the 20 amino acids that are to be incorporated into proteins. The tRNA then acts as a carrier to transport its specific type of amino acid to the ribosomes, where protein molecules are forming. In the ribosomes, each specific type of transfer RNA recognizes a particular codon on the mRNA (described later) and thereby delivers the appropriate amino acid to the appropriate place in the chain of the newly forming protein molecule. Transfer RNA, which contains only about 80 nucleotides, is a relatively small molecule in comparison with mRNA. It is a folded chain of nucleotides with a cloverleaf appearance similar to that shown in Figure 3-9. At one end of the molecule is always an adenylic acid; it is to this that the transported amino acid attaches at a hydroxyl group of the ribose in the adenylic acid. Because the function of tRNA is to cause attachment of a specific amino acid to a forming protein chain, it is essential that each type of tRNA also have specificity for a particular codon in the mRNA. The specific code in the tRNA that allows it to recognize a specific codon is again a triplet of nucleotide bases and is called an anticodon. This is located approximately in the middle of the tRNA molecule (at the bottom of the cloverleaf configuration shown in Figure 3-9). During formation of the protein molecule, the anticodon bases combine loosely by ­hydrogen

The third type of RNA in the cell is ribosomal RNA; it constitutes about 60 percent of the ribosome. The remainder of the ribosome is protein, containing about 75 types of proteins that are both structural proteins and enzymes needed in the manufacture of protein molecules. The ribosome is the physical structure in the cytoplasm on which protein molecules are actually synthesized. However, it always functions in association with the other two types of RNA as well: tRNA transports amino acids to the ribosome for incorporation into the developing protein molecule, whereas mRNA provides the information necessary for sequencing the amino acids in proper order for each specific type of protein to be manufactured. Thus, the ribosome acts as a manufacturing plant in which the protein molecules are formed.

Forming protein

Alanine Cysteine Histidine Alanine Phenylalanine Serine Proline

Transfer RNA

Formation of Ribosomes in the Nucleolus.  The DNA genes for formation of ribosomal RNA are located in five pairs of chromosomes in the nucleus, and each of these chromosomes contains many duplicates of these particular genes because of the large amounts of ­ribosomal RNA required for cellular function. As the ribosomal RNA forms, it collects in the nucleolus, a specialized structure lying adjacent to the chromosomes. When large amounts of ribosomal RNA are being synthesized, as occurs in cells that manufacture large amounts of protein, the nucleolus is a large structure, whereas in cells that synthesize little protein, the nucleolus may not even be seen. Ribosomal RNA is specially processed in the nucleolus, where it binds with “ribosomal proteins” to form granular condensation products that are primordial subunits of ribosomes. These subunits are then released from the nucleolus and transported through the large pores of the nuclear envelope to almost all parts of the cytoplasm. After the subunits enter the cytoplasm, they are assembled to form mature, functional ribosomes. Therefore, proteins are formed in the cytoplasm of the cell, but not in the cell nucleus, because the nucleus does not contain mature ribosomes.

Start codon

MicroRNA GGG A UG GCC UGU CAU GCC UUU UCC CCC AAA C AG GAC UAU

Ribosome

Messenger

Ribosome

RNA movement

Figure 3-9.  A messenger RNA strand is moving through two ribosomes. As each “codon” passes through, an amino acid is added to the growing protein chain, which is shown in the right-hand ­ribosome. The transfer RNA molecule transports each specific amino acid to the newly forming protein.

32

A fourth type of RNA in the cell is miRNA. These are short (21 to 23 nucleotides) single-stranded RNA fragments that regulate gene expression (Figure 3-10). The miRNAs are encoded from the transcribed DNA of genes, but they are not translated into proteins and are therefore often called noncoding RNA. The miRNAs are processed by the cell into molecules that are complementary to mRNA and act to decrease gene expression. Generation of miRNAs involves special processing of longer primary precursor

Chapter 3  Genetic Control of Protein Synthesis, Cell Function, and Cell Reproduction

Protein-coding gene

Transcription of pri-miRNA Pri-miRNA Microprocessor complex

Pre-miRNA Transport of pre-miRNA into cytoplasm

Cytoplasm

Dicer

Processing of pre-miRNA into small RNA duplexes

RISC

RISC-miRNA complex mRNA degradation

Translational repression

Figure 3-10.  Regulation of gene expression by microRNA (miRNA). Primary miRNA (pri-miRNA), the primary transcripts of a gene processed in the cell nucleus by the microprocessor complex to pre-miRNAs. These pre-miRNAs are then further processed in the cytoplasm by dicer, an enzyme that helps assemble an RNAinduced silencing complex (RISC) and generates miRNAs. The miRNAs regulate gene expression by binding to the complementary region of the RNA and repressing translation or promoting degradation of the mRNA before it can be translated by the ribosome.

RNAs called pri-miRNAs, which are the primary transcripts of the gene. The pri-miRNAs are then processed in the cell nucleus by the microprocessor complex to premiRNAs, which are 70 nucleotide stem-loop structures. These pre-miRNAs are then further processed in the cytoplasm by a specific dicer enzyme that helps assemble an RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) and generates miRNAs. The miRNAs regulate gene expression by binding to the complementary region of the RNA and promoting repression of translation or degradation of the mRNA before it can be translated by the ribosome. miRNAs are believed to play an important role in the normal regulation of cell function, and alterations in miRNA function have been associated with diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Another type of microRNA is small interfering RNA (siRNA), also called silencing RNA or short interfering RNA. The siRNAs are short, double-stranded RNA molecules, 20 to 25 nucleotides in length, that interfere with the expression of specific genes. siRNAs generally refer to synthetic miRNAs and can be administered to silence expression of specific genes. They are designed to avoid the nuclear processing by the microprocessor complex, and after the siRNA enters the cytoplasm it activates the RISC silencing complex, blocking the translation of mRNA. Because siRNAs can be tailored for any specific sequence in the gene, they can be used to block translation of any mRNA and therefore expression by any gene for which the nucleotide sequence is known. Some researchers have proposed that siRNAs may become useful therapeutic tools to silence genes that contribute to the pathophysiology of diseases.

Formation of Proteins on the Ribosomes—The Process of “Translation” When a molecule of messenger RNA comes in contact with a ribosome, it travels through the ribosome, beginning at a predetermined end of the RNA molecule specified by an appropriate sequence of RNA bases called the “chain-initiating” codon. Then, as shown in Figure 3-9, while the messenger RNA travels through the ribosome, a protein molecule is formed—a process called translation. Thus, the ribosome reads the codons of the messenger RNA in much the same way that a tape is “read” as it passes through the playback head of a tape recorder. Then, when a “stop” (or “chain-terminating”) codon slips past the ribosome, the end of a protein molecule is signaled and the protein molecule is freed into the cytoplasm. Polyribosomes.  A single messenger RNA molecule can form protein molecules in several ribosomes at the same time because the initial end of the RNA strand can pass to a successive ribosome as it leaves the first, as shown at the bottom left in Figure 3-9 and in Figure 3-11. The protein molecules are in different stages of development in each ribosome. As a result, clusters of ribosomes frequently occur, 3 to 10 ribosomes being attached to a single messenger RNA at the same time. These clusters are called polyribosomes. It is especially important to note that a messenger RNA can cause the formation of a protein molecule in any ribosome; that is, there is no specificity of ribosomes for given types of protein. The ribosome is simply the physical manufacturing plant in which the chemical reactions take place.

Many Ribosomes Attach to the Endoplasmic Reticulum.  In Chapter 2, it was noted that many ribo-

somes become attached to the endoplasmic reticulum. This occurs because the initial ends of many forming protein molecules have amino acid sequences that immediately attach to specific receptor sites on the endoplasmic reticulum; this causes these molecules to penetrate the 33

Unit I

Transcription of mRNA

miRNA

Unit I  Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology Figure 3-11.  Physical structure of the ribosomes, as well as their functional relation to messenger RNA, transfer RNA, and the endoplasmic reticulum during the formation of protein molecules. (Courtesy Dr. Don W. Fawcett, Montana.)

Transfer RNA

Amino acid

Messenger RNA

Endoplasmic reticulum

reticulum wall and enter the endoplasmic reticulum matrix. This gives a granular appearance to those portions of the reticulum where proteins are being formed and entering the matrix of the reticulum. Figure 3-11 shows the functional relation of messenger RNA to the ribosomes and the manner in which the ribosomes attach to the membrane of the endoplasmic reticulum. Note the process of translation occurring in several ribosomes at the same time in response to the same strand of messenger RNA. Note also the newly forming polypeptide (protein) chains passing through the endoplasmic reticulum membrane into the endoplasmic matrix. Yet it should be noted that except in glandular cells in which large amounts of protein-containing secretory vesicles are formed, most proteins synthesized by the ribosomes are released directly into the cytosol instead of into the endoplasmic reticulum. These proteins are enzymes and internal structural proteins of the cell.

Chemical Steps in Protein Synthesis.  Some of the chemical events that occur in synthesis of a protein molecule are shown in Figure 3-12. This figure shows representative reactions for three separate amino acids, AA1, Figure 3-12.  Chemical events in the formation of a ­protein molecule.

Ribosome

Small subunit

Large subunit

Polypeptide chain

AA2, and AA20. The stages of the reactions are the following: (1) Each amino acid is activated by a chemical ­process in which ATP combines with the amino acid to form an adenosine monophosphate complex with the amino acid, giving up two high-energy phosphate bonds in the process. (2) The activated amino acid, having an excess of energy, then combines with its specific transfer RNA to form an amino acid–tRNA complex and, at the same time, releases the adenosine monophosphate. (3) The transfer RNA carrying the amino acid complex then comes in contact with the messenger RNA molecule in the ribosome, where the anticodon of the transfer RNA attaches temporarily to its specific codon of the messenger RNA, thus lining up the amino acid in appropriate sequence to form a protein molecule. Then, under the influence of the enzyme peptidyl transferase (one of the proteins in the ribosome), peptide bonds are formed between the successive amino acids, thus adding progressively to the protein chain. These chemical events require energy from two additional high-energy phosphate bonds, making a total of four high-energy bonds used for each amino acid added to the protein chain. Thus, the synthesis of proteins is one of the most energy-consuming processes of the cell.

Amino acid

Activated amino acid

AA1 + ATP

AA1

AA2

tRNA2 +

AMP AA20 + tRNA20 tRNA20 +

AA20

GCC UGU AAU

CAU CGU AUG GUU

GCC UGU AAU

CAU CGU AUG GUU tRNA20 AA20

AA9

AA13

AA3

tRNA13

tRNA3

AA5

GTP

AA2

tRNA5

AA1

AA1 AA5 AA3

tRNA2

tRNA1

Protein chain

tRNA9

Complex between tRNA, messenger RNA, and amino acid

GTP GTP

34

AA20 + ATP

AMP AA2 + tRNA2

AMP AA1 + tRNA1

RNA-amino acyl complex tRNA1 + Messenger RNA

AA2 + ATP

GTP GTP GTP GTP AA9

AA2 AA13 AA20

Chapter 3  Genetic Control of Protein Synthesis, Cell Function, and Cell Reproduction

Peptide Linkage.  The successive amino acids in the

protein chain combine with one another according to the typical reaction: NH2 O C

C

R

R

OH + H

N

C

NH2 O

H

R

N

C

C

C

COOH

COOH + H2O

In this chemical reaction, a hydroxyl radical (OH−) is removed from the COOH portion of the first amino acid and a hydrogen (H+) of the NH2 portion of the other amino acid is removed. These combine to form water, and the two reactive sites left on the two successive amino acids bond with each other, resulting in a single molecule. This process is called peptide linkage. As each additional amino acid is added, an additional peptide linkage is formed.

Synthesis of Other Substances in the Cell Many thousand protein enzymes formed in the manner just described control essentially all the other chemical reactions that take place in cells. These enzymes promote synthesis of lipids, glycogen, purines, pyrimidines, and hundreds of other substances. We discuss many of these synthetic processes in relation to carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism in Chapters 67 through 69. It is by means of all these substances that the many functions of the cells are performed.

Control of Gene Function and Biochemical Activity in Cells From our discussion thus far, it is clear that the genes control both the physical and chemical functions of the cells. However, the degree of activation of respective genes must be controlled as well; otherwise, some parts of the cell might overgrow or some chemical reactions might overact until they kill the cell. Each cell has powerful internal feedback control mechanisms that keep the various functional operations of the cell in step with one another. For each gene (approximately 30,000 genes in all), there is at least one such feedback mechanism. There are basically two methods by which the biochemical activities in the cell are controlled: (1) genetic regulation, in which the degree of activation of the genes and the formation of gene products are themselves controlled and (2) enzyme regulation, in which the activity levels of already formed enzymes in the cell are controlled.

Genetic Regulation Genetic regulation, or regulation of gene expression, covers the entire process from transcription of the genetic code in the nucleus to the formation or proteins in the cytoplasm.

The Promoter Controls Gene Expression.  Synthesis of cellular proteins is a complex process that starts with the transcription of DNA into RNA. The transcription of DNA is controlled by regulatory elements found in the promoter of a gene (Figure 3-13). In eukaryotes, which includes all mammals, the basal promoter consists of a sequence of seven bases (TATAAAA) called the TATA box, the binding site for the TATA-binding protein (TBP) and several other important transcription factors that are collectively referred to as the transcription factor IID complex. In addition to the transcription factor IID complex, this region is where transcription factor IIB binds to both the DNA and RNA polymerase 2 to facilitate transcription of the DNA into RNA. This basal promoter is found in all protein-coding genes and the polymerase must bind with this basal promoter before it can begin traveling along the DNA strand to synthesize RNA. The upstream promoter is located farther upstream from the transcription start site and contains several binding sites for positive or negative transcription factors that can effect transcription through interactions with proteins bound to the basal promoter. The structure and transcription factor binding sites in the upstream promoter vary from gene to gene to give rise to the different expression patterns of genes in different tissues. Condensed chromatin

Upstream Insulator

Enha

ncer

Transcription inhibitors

Transcription factors

RE

RE

RNA polymerase 2

TATA

INR

Proximal promoter elements Basal promoter

Figure 3-13.  Gene transcriptional in eukaryotic cells. A complex arrangement of multiple clustered enhancer modules interspersed with insulator elements, which can be located either upstream or downstream of a basal promoter containing TATA box (TATA), proximal promoter elements (response elements, RE), and Initiator sequences (INR).

35

Unit I

R

H

Regulation of gene expression provides all living organisms the ability to respond to changes in their environment. In animals that have many different types of cells, tissues, and organs, differential regulation of gene expression also permits the many different cell types in the body to each perform their specialized functions. Although a cardiac myocyte contains the same genetic code as a renal tubular epithelia cell, many genes are expressed in cardiac cells that are not expressed in renal tubular cells. The ultimate measure of gene “expression” is whether (and how much) of the gene products (proteins) are produced because proteins carry out cell functions specified by the genes. Regulation of gene expression can occur at any point in the pathways of transcription, RNA ­processing, and translation.

Unit I  Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology

Transcription of genes in eukaryotes is also influenced by enhancers, which are regions of DNA that can bind transcription factors. Enhancers can be located a great distance from the gene they act on or even on a different chromosome. They can also be located either upstream or downstream of the gene that they regulate. Although enhancers may be located a great distance away from their target gene, they may be relatively close when DNA is coiled in the nucleus. It is estimated that there are 110,000 gene enhancer sequences in the human genome. In the organization of the chromosome, it is important to separate active genes that are being transcribed from genes that are repressed. This can be challenging because multiple genes may be located close together on the chromosome. This is achieved by chromosomal insulators. These insulators are gene sequences that provide a barrier so that a specific gene is isolated against transcriptional influences from surrounding genes. Insulators can vary greatly in their DNA sequence and the proteins that bind to them. One way an insulator activity can be modulated is by DNA methylation. This is the case for the mammalian insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF-2) gene. The mother’s allele has an insulator between the enhancer and promoter of the gene that allows for the binding of a transcriptional repressor. However, the paternal DNA sequence is methylated such that the transcriptional repressor cannot bind to the insulator and the IGF-2 gene is expressed from the paternal copy of the gene.

Other Mechanisms for Control of Transcription by the Promoter.  Variations in the basic mechanism for

control of the promoter have been discovered with rapidity in the past 2 decades. Without giving details, let us list some of them: 1. A promoter is frequently controlled by transcription factors located elsewhere in the genome. That is, the regulatory gene causes the formation of a regulatory protein that in turn acts either as an activator or a repressor of transcription. 2. Occasionally, many different promoters are controlled at the same time by the same regulatory protein. In some instances, the same regulatory protein functions as an activator for one promoter and as a repressor for another promoter. 3. Some proteins are controlled not at the starting point of transcription on the DNA strand but farther along the strand. Sometimes the control is not even at the DNA strand itself but during the processing of the RNA molecules in the nucleus before they are released into the cytoplasm; rarely, control might occur at the level of protein formation in the cytoplasm during RNA translation by the ribosomes. 4. In nucleated cells, the nuclear DNA is packaged in specific structural units, the chromosomes. Within each chromosome, the DNA is wound around small proteins called histones, which in turn are held tightly together 36

in a compacted state by still other proteins. As long as the DNA is in this compacted state, it cannot function to form RNA. However, multiple control mechanisms are beginning to be discovered that can cause selected areas of chromosomes to become decompacted one part at a time so that partial RNA transcription can occur. Even then, specific transcriptor factors control the actual rate of transcription by the promoter in the chromosome. Thus, still higher orders of control are used for establishing proper cell function. In addition, signals from outside the cell, such as some of the body’s hormones, can activate specific chromosomal areas and specific transcription factors, thus controlling the chemical machinery for function of the cell. Because there are more than 30,000 different genes in each human cell, the large number of ways in which genetic activity can be controlled is not surprising. The gene control systems are especially important for controlling intracellular concentrations of amino acids, amino acid derivatives, and intermediate substrates and ­products of carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism.

Control of Intracellular Function by Enzyme Regulation In addition to control of cell function by genetic regulation, some cell activities are controlled by intracellular inhibitors or activators that act directly on specific intracellular enzymes. Thus, enzyme regulation represents a second category of mechanisms by which cellular biochemical functions can be controlled.

Enzyme Inhibition.  Some chemical substances formed in the cell have direct feedback effects in inhibiting the specific enzyme systems that synthesize them. Almost always the synthesized product acts on the first enzyme in a sequence, rather than on the subsequent enzymes, usually binding directly with the enzyme and causing an allosteric conformational change that inactivates it. One can readily recognize the importance of inactivating the first enzyme: this prevents buildup of intermediary products that are not used. Enzyme inhibition is another example of negative feedback control; it is responsible for controlling intracellular concentrations of multiple amino acids, purines, pyrimidines, vitamins, and other substances. Enzyme Activation.  Enzymes that are normally inactive often can be activated when needed. An example of this occurs when most of the ATP has been depleted in a cell. In this case, a considerable amount of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) begins to be formed as a breakdown product of the ATP; the presence of this cAMP, in turn, immediately activates the glycogen-splitting enzyme phosphorylase, liberating glucose molecules that are rapidly metabolized and their energy used for replenishment of the ATP stores. Thus, cAMP acts as an enzyme activator for the enzyme phosphorylase and thereby helps control intracellular ATP concentration.

Chapter 3  Genetic Control of Protein Synthesis, Cell Function, and Cell Reproduction

Unit I

Another interesting instance of both enzyme inhibition and enzyme activation occurs in the formation of the purines and pyrimidines. These substances are needed by the cell in approximately equal quantities for formation of DNA and RNA. When purines are formed, they inhibit the enzymes that are required for formation of additional purines. However, they activate the enzymes for formation of pyrimidines. Conversely, the pyrimidines inhibit their own enzymes but activate the purine enzymes. In this way, there is continual cross-feed between the synthesizing systems for these two substances, resulting in almost exactly equal amounts of the two substances in the cells at all times.

Summary.  In summary, there are two principal methods by which cells control proper proportions and proper quantities of different cellular constituents: (1) the mechanism of genetic regulation and (2) the mechanism of enzyme regulation. The genes can be either activated or inhibited, and likewise, the enzyme systems can be either activated or inhibited. These regulatory mechanisms most often function as feedback control systems that continually monitor the cell’s biochemical composition and make corrections as needed. But on occasion, substances from without the cell (especially some of the hormones discussed throughout this text) also control the intracellular biochemical reactions by activating or inhibiting one or more of the intracellular control systems.

The DNA-Genetic System Also Controls Cell Reproduction Cell reproduction is another example of the ubiquitous role that the DNA-genetic system plays in all life processes. The genes and their regulatory mechanisms determine the growth characteristics of the cells and also when or whether these cells will divide to form new cells. In this way, the allimportant genetic system controls each stage in the development of the human being, from the single-cell fertilized ovum to the whole functioning body. Thus, if there is any central theme to life, it is the DNA-genetic system.

Life Cycle of the Cell.  The life cycle of a cell is the period from cell reproduction to the next cell reproduction. When mammalian cells are not inhibited and are reproducing as rapidly as they can, this life cycle may be as little as 10 to 30 hours. It is terminated by a series of distinct physical events called mitosis that cause division of the cell into two new daughter cells. The events of mitosis are shown in Figure 3-14 and are described later. The actual stage of mitosis, however, lasts for only about 30 minutes, so more than 95 percent of the life cycle of even rapidly reproducing cells is represented by the interval between mitosis, called interphase. Except in special conditions of rapid cellular reproduction, inhibitory factors almost always slow or stop the uninhibited life cycle of the cell. Therefore, different cells of the

Figure 3-14.  Stages of cell reproduction. A, B, and C, Prophase. D, Prometaphase. E, Metaphase. F, Anaphase. G and H, Telophase. (From Margaret C. Gladbach, Estate of Mary E. and Dan Todd, Kansas.)

body actually have life cycle periods that vary from as little as 10 hours for highly stimulated bone marrow cells to an entire lifetime of the human body for most nerve cells.

Cell Reproduction Begins with Replication of DNA As is true of almost all other important events in the cell, reproduction begins in the nucleus itself. The first step is replication (duplication) of all DNA in the chromosomes. Only after this has occurred can mitosis take place. The DNA begins to be duplicated some 5 to 10 hours before mitosis, and this is completed in 4 to 8 hours. The net result is two exact replicas of all DNA. These replicas become the DNA in the two new daughter cells that will be formed at mitosis. After replication of the DNA, there is another period of 1 to 2 hours before mitosis begins abruptly. Even during this period, preliminary changes that will lead to the mitotic process are beginning to take place.

Chemical and Physical Events of DNA Replication.  DNA is replicated in much the same way that RNA is transcribed in response to DNA, except for a few important differences:

1. Both strands of the DNA in each chromosome are replicated, not simply one of them. 37

Unit I  Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology

2. Both entire strands of the DNA helix are replicated from end to end, rather than small portions of them, as occurs in the transcription of RNA. 3. The principal enzymes for replicating DNA are a complex of multiple enzymes called DNA polymerase, which is comparable to RNA polymerase. It attaches to and moves along the DNA template strand while another enzyme, DNA ligase, causes bonding of successive DNA nucleotides to one another, using high-energy phosphate bonds to energize these attachments. 4. Formation of each new DNA strand occurs simultaneously in hundreds of segments along each of the two strands of the helix until the entire strand is replicated. Then the ends of the subunits are joined together by the DNA ligase enzyme. 5. Each newly formed strand of DNA remains attached by loose hydrogen bonding to the original DNA strand that was used as its template. Therefore, two DNA helixes are coiled together. 6. Because the DNA helixes in each chromosome are approximately 6 centimeters in length and have millions of helix turns, it would be impossible for the two newly formed DNA helixes to uncoil from each other were it not for some special mechanism. This is achieved by enzymes that periodically cut each helix along its entire length, rotate each segment enough to cause separation, and then resplice the helix. Thus, the two new helixes become uncoiled.

DNA Repair, DNA “Proofreading,” and “Mutation.”  During the hour or so between DNA replication and the beginning of mitosis, there is a period of active repair and “proofreading” of the DNA strands. That is, wherever inappropriate DNA nucleotides have been matched up with the nucleotides of the original template strand, special enzymes cut out the defective areas and replace these with appropriate complementary nucleotides. This is achieved by the same DNA polymerases and DNA ligases that are used in replication. This repair process is referred to as DNA proofreading. Because of repair and proofreading, the transcription process rarely makes a mistake. But when a mistake is made, this is called a mutation. The mutation causes formation of some abnormal protein in the cell rather than a needed protein, often leading to abnormal cellular function and sometimes even cell death. Yet given that there are 30,000 or more genes in the human genome and that the period from one human generation to another is about 30 years, one would expect as many as 10 or many more mutations in the passage of the genome from parent to child. As a further protection, however, each human genome is represented by two separate sets of chromosomes with almost identical genes. Therefore, one functional gene of each pair is almost always available to the child despite mutations. Chromosomes and Their Replication The DNA helixes of the nucleus are packaged in chromosomes. The human cell contains 46 chromosomes arranged 38

in 23 pairs. Most of the genes in the two chromosomes of each pair are identical or almost identical to each other, so it is usually stated that the different genes also exist in pairs, although occasionally this is not the case. In addition to DNA in the chromosome, there is a large amount of protein in the chromosome, composed mainly of many small molecules of electropositively charged histones. The histones are organized into vast numbers of small, bobbin-like cores. Small segments of each DNA helix are coiled sequentially around one core after another. The histone cores play an important role in the regulation of DNA activity because as long as the DNA is packaged tightly, it cannot function as a template for either the formation of RNA or the replication of new DNA. Further, some of the regulatory proteins have been shown to decondense the histone packaging of the DNA and to allow small segments at a time to form RNA. Several nonhistone proteins are also major components of chromosomes, functioning both as chromosomal structural proteins and, in connection with the genetic regulatory machinery, as activators, inhibitors, and enzymes. Replication of the chromosomes in their entirety occurs during the next few minutes after replication of the DNA helixes has been completed; the new DNA helixes collect new protein molecules as needed. The two newly formed chromosomes remain attached to each other (until time for mitosis) at a point called the centromere located near their center. These duplicated but still attached chromosomes are called chromatids.

Cell Mitosis The actual process by which the cell splits into two new cells is called mitosis. Once each chromosome has been replicated to form the two chromatids, in many cells, mitosis follows automatically within 1 or 2 hours.

Mitotic Apparatus: Function of the Centrioles.  One of the first events of mitosis takes place in the cytoplasm, occurring during the latter part of interphase in or around the small structures called centrioles. As shown in Figure 3-14, two pairs of centrioles lie close to each other near one pole of the nucleus. These centrioles, like the DNA and chromosomes, are also replicated during interphase, usually shortly before replication of the DNA. Each centriole is a small cylindrical body about 0.4 micrometer long and about 0.15 micrometer in diameter, consisting mainly of nine parallel tubular structures arranged in the form of a cylinder. The two centrioles of each pair lie at right angles to each other. Each pair of centrioles, along with attached pericentriolar material, is called a centrosome. Shortly before mitosis is to take place, the two pairs of centrioles begin to move apart from each other. This is caused by polymerization of protein microtubules ­growing between the respective centriole pairs and

Chapter 3  Genetic Control of Protein Synthesis, Cell Function, and Cell Reproduction

Prophase.  The first stage of mitosis, called prophase, is shown in Figure 3-14A, B, and C. While the spindle is forming, the chromosomes of the nucleus (which in interphase consist of loosely coiled strands) become condensed into well-defined chromosomes. Prometaphase.  During this stage (see Figure 3-14D), the growing microtubular spines of the aster fragment the nuclear envelope. At the same time, multiple microtubules from the aster attach to the chromatids at the centromeres, where the paired chromatids are still bound to each other; the tubules then pull one chromatid of each pair toward one cellular pole and its partner toward the opposite pole. Metaphase.  During metaphase (see Figure 3-14E), the two asters of the mitotic apparatus are pushed farther apart. This is believed to occur because the microtubular spines from the two asters, where they interdigitate with each other to form the mitotic spindle, actually push each other away. There is reason to believe that minute contractile protein molecules called “molecular motors,” perhaps composed of the muscle protein actin, extend between the respective spines and, using a stepping action as in muscle, actively slide the spines in a reverse direction along each other. Simultaneously, the chromatids are pulled tightly by their attached microtubules to the very center of the cell, ­lining up to form the equatorial plate of the mitotic spindle. Anaphase.  During this phase (see Figure 3-14F), the

two chromatids of each chromosome are pulled apart at the centromere. All 46 pairs of chromatids are separated, forming two separate sets of 46 daughter chromosomes. One of these sets is pulled toward one mitotic aster and the other toward the other aster as the two respective poles of the dividing cell are pushed still farther apart.

Telophase.  In telophase (see Figure 3-14G and H), the two sets of daughter chromosomes are pushed completely apart. Then the mitotic apparatus dissolutes, and a new nuclear membrane develops around each set of chromosomes. This membrane is formed from portions of the endoplasmic reticulum that are already present in the cytoplasm. Shortly thereafter, the cell pinches in two, midway between the two nuclei. This is caused by ­formation of a contractile ring of microfilaments composed of actin and probably myosin (the two contractile proteins of muscle) at the juncture of the newly developing cells that pinches them off from each other.

Control of Cell Growth and Cell Reproduction We know that certain cells grow and reproduce all the time, such as the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow, the germinal layers of the skin, and the epithelium of the gut. Many other cells, however, such as smooth muscle cells, may not reproduce for many years. A few cells, such as the neurons and most striated muscle cells, do not reproduce during the entire life of a person, except during the original period of fetal life. In certain tissues, an insufficiency of some types of cells causes these to grow and reproduce rapidly until appropriate numbers of them are again available. For instance, in some young animals, seven eighths of the liver can be removed surgically, and the cells of the remaining one eighth will grow and divide until the liver mass returns to almost normal. The same occurs for many glandular cells and most cells of the bone marrow, subcutaneous tissue, intestinal epithelium, and almost any other tissue except highly differentiated cells such as nerve and muscle cells. We know little about the mechanisms that maintain proper numbers of the different types of cells in the body. However, experiments have shown at least three ways in which growth can be controlled. First, growth often is controlled by growth factors that come from other parts of the body. Some of these circulate in the blood, but ­others originate in adjacent tissues. For instance, the epithelial cells of some glands, such as the pancreas, fail to grow without a growth factor from the sublying connective ­tissue of the gland. Second, most normal cells stop growing when they have run out of space for growth. This occurs when cells are grown in tissue culture; the cells grow until they contact a solid object, and then growth stops. Third, cells grown in tissue culture often stop growing when minute amounts of their own secretions are allowed to collect in the culture medium. This, too, could provide a means for negative feedback control of growth.

Regulation of Cell Size.  Cell size is determined almost entirely by the amount of functioning DNA in the nucleus. If replication of the DNA does not occur, the cell grows to a certain size and thereafter remains at that size. Conversely, it is possible, by use of the chemical colchicine, to prevent formation of the mitotic spindle and therefore to prevent mitosis, even though replication of the DNA continues. In this event, the nucleus contains far greater quantities of DNA than it normally does, and the cell grows proportionately larger. It is assumed that this results simply from increased production of RNA and cell proteins, which in turn cause the cell to grow larger.

Cell Differentiation A special characteristic of cell growth and cell division is cell differentiation, which refers to changes in physical and functional properties of cells as they proliferate in the embryo to form the different bodily structures and organs. 39

Unit I

a­ ctually ­pushing them apart. At the same time, other microtubules grow radially away from each of the centriole pairs, forming a spiny star, called the aster, in each end of the cell. Some of the spines of the aster penetrate the nuclear membrane and help separate the two sets of chromatids during mitosis. The complex of microtubules extending between the two new centriole pairs is called the spindle, and the entire set of microtubules plus the two pairs of centrioles is called the mitotic apparatus.

Unit I  Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology

The description of an especially interesting ­experiment that helps explain these processes follows. When the nucleus from an intestinal mucosal cell of a frog is surgically implanted into a frog ovum from which the original ovum nucleus was removed, the result is often the formation of a normal frog. This demonstrates that even the intestinal mucosal cell, which is a well­differentiated cell, carries all the necessary genetic information for development of all structures required in the frog’s body. Therefore, it has become clear that differentiation results not from loss of genes but from selective repression of different gene promoters. In fact, electron micrographs suggest that some segments of DNA helixes wound around histone cores become so condensed that they no longer uncoil to form RNA molecules. One explanation for this is as follows: It has been supposed that the cellular genome begins at a certain stage of cell differentiation to produce a regulatory protein that forever after represses a select group of genes. Therefore, the repressed genes never function again. Regardless of the mechanism, mature human cells produce a maximum of about 8000 to 10,000 proteins rather than the potential 30,000 or more if all genes were active. Embryological experiments show that certain cells in an embryo control differentiation of adjacent cells. For instance, the primordial chorda-mesoderm is called the primary organizer of the embryo because it forms a focus around which the rest of the embryo develops. It differentiates into a mesodermal axis that contains segmentally arranged somites and, as a result of inductions in the surrounding tissues, causes formation of essentially all the organs of the body. Another instance of induction occurs when the developing eye vesicles come in contact with the ectoderm of the head and cause the ectoderm to thicken into a lens plate that folds inward to form the lens of the eye. Therefore, a large share of the embryo develops as a result of such inductions, one part of the body affecting another part, and this part affecting still other parts. Thus, although our understanding of cell differentiation is still hazy, we know many control mechanisms by which differentiation could occur.

Apoptosis—Programmed Cell Death The 100 trillion cells of the body are members of a highly organized community in which the total number of cells is regulated not only by controlling the rate of cell division but also by controlling the rate of cell death. When cells are no longer needed or become a threat to the organism, they undergo a suicidal programmed cell death, or ­apoptosis. This process involves a specific proteolytic cascade that causes the cell to shrink and condense, to disassemble its cytoskeleton, and to alter its cell surface so that a neighboring phagocytic cell, such as a macrophage, can attach to the cell membrane and digest the cell. 40

In contrast to programmed death, cells that die as a result of an acute injury usually swell and burst due to loss of cell membrane integrity, a process called cell necrosis. Necrotic cells may spill their contents, causing inflammation and injury to neighboring cells. Apoptosis, however, is an orderly cell death that results in disassembly and phagocytosis of the cell before any leakage of its contents occurs, and neighboring cells usually remain healthy. Apoptosis is initiated by activation of a family of proteases called caspases. These are enzymes that are synthesized and stored in the cell as inactive procaspases. The mechanisms of activation of caspases are complex, but once activated, the enzymes cleave and activate other procaspases, triggering a cascade that rapidly breaks down proteins within the cell. The cell thus dismantles itself, and its remains are rapidly digested by neighboring phagocytic cells. A tremendous amount of apoptosis occurs in tissues that are being remodeled during development. Even in adult humans, billions of cells die each hour in tissues such as the intestine and bone marrow and are replaced by new cells. Programmed cell death, however, is normally balanced with the formation of new cells in healthy adults. Otherwise, the body’s tissues would shrink or grow excessively. Recent studies suggest that abnormalities of apoptosis may play a key role in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, as well as in cancer and autoimmune disorders. Some drugs that have been used successfully for chemotherapy appear to induce apoptosis in cancer cells.

Cancer Cancer is caused in all or almost all instances by mutation or by some other abnormal activation of cellular genes that control cell growth and cell mitosis. The abnormal genes are called oncogenes. As many as 100 different ­oncogenes have been discovered. Also present in all cells are antioncogenes, which suppress the activation of specific oncogenes. Therefore, loss or inactivation of antioncogenes can allow activation of oncogenes that lead to cancer. Only a minute fraction of the cells that mutate in the body ever lead to cancer. There are several reasons for this. First, most mutated cells have less survival capability than normal cells and simply die. Second, only a few of the mutated cells that do survive become cancerous, because even most mutated cells still have normal ­feedback ­controls that prevent excessive growth. Third, those cells that are potentially cancerous are often destroyed by the body’s immune system before they grow into a cancer. This occurs in the following way: Most mutated cells form abnormal proteins within their cell bodies because of their altered genes, and these proteins activate the body’s immune system, causing it to form antibodies or sensitized lymphocytes that react against the cancerous cells, destroying them. In support

Chapter 3  Genetic Control of Protein Synthesis, Cell Function, and Cell Reproduction

1. It is well known that ionizing radiation, such as x-rays, gamma rays, and particle radiation from ­radioactive substances, and even ultraviolet light can ­predispose individuals to cancer. Ions formed in tissue cells under the influence of such radiation are highly reactive and can rupture DNA strands, thus causing many mutations. 2. Chemical substances of certain types also have a high propensity for causing mutations. It was discovered long ago that various aniline dye derivatives are likely to cause cancer, so workers in chemical plants producing such substances, if unprotected, have a special predisposition to cancer. Chemical substances that can cause mutation are called carcinogens. The carcinogens that currently cause the greatest number of deaths are those in cigarette smoke. They cause about one quarter of all cancer deaths. 3. Physical irritants can also lead to cancer, such as continued abrasion of the linings of the intestinal tract by some types of food. The damage to the tissues leads to rapid mitotic replacement of the cells. The more rapid the mitosis, the greater the chance for mutation. 4. In many families, there is a strong hereditary tendency to cancer. This results from the fact that most cancers require not one mutation but two or more mutations before cancer occurs. In those families that are particularly predisposed to cancer, it is presumed that one or more cancerous genes are already mutated in the inherited genome. Therefore, far fewer additional

mutations must take place in such family members before a cancer begins to grow. 5. In laboratory animals, certain types of viruses can cause some kinds of cancer, including leukemia. This usually results in one of two ways. In the case of DNA viruses, the DNA strand of the virus can insert itself directly into one of the chromosomes and thereby cause a mutation that leads to cancer. In the case of RNA viruses, some of these carry with them an enzyme called reverse transcriptase that causes DNA to be transcribed from the RNA. The transcribed DNA then inserts itself into the animal cell genome, leading to cancer.

Invasive Characteristic of the Cancer Cell.  The major differences between the cancer cell and the normal cell are the following: (1) The cancer cell does not respect usual cellular growth limits; the reason for this is that these cells presumably do not require all the same growth factors that are necessary to cause growth of normal cells. (2) Cancer cells are often far less adhesive to one another than are normal cells. Therefore, they tend to wander through the tissues, enter the blood stream, and be transported all through the body, where they form nidi for numerous new cancerous growths. (3) Some cancers also produce angiogenic factors that cause many new blood vessels to grow into the cancer, thus supplying the nutrients required for cancer growth. Why Do Cancer Cells Kill? The answer to this question is usually simple. Cancer tissue competes with normal tissues for nutrients. Because cancer cells continue to proliferate indefinitely, their number multiplying day by day, cancer cells soon demand essentially all the nutrition available to the body or to an essential part of the body. As a result, normal tissues ­gradually suffer nutritive death.

Bibliography Alberts B, Johnson A, Lewis J, et al: Molecular Biology of the Cell, ed 5, New York, 2008, Garland Science. Aranda A, Pascal A: Nuclear hormone receptors and gene expression, Physiol Rev 81:1269, 2001. Brodersen P, Voinnet O: Revisiting the principles of microRNA target recognition and mode of action, Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 10:141, 2009. Cairns BR: The logic of chromatin architecture and remodelling at promoters, Nature 461:193, 2009. Carthew RW, Sontheimer EJ: Origins and mechanisms of miRNAs and siRNAs, Cell 136:642, 2009. Castanotto D, Rossi JJ: The promises and pitfalls of RNA-interference-based therapeutics, Nature 457:426, 2009. Cedar H, Bergman Y: Linking DNA methylation and histone modification: patterns and paradigms, Nat Rev Genet 10:295, 2009. Croce CM: Causes and consequences of microRNA dysregulation in cancer, Nat Rev Genet 10:704, 2009. Frazer KA, Murray SS, Schork NJ, et al: Human genetic variation and its contribution to complex traits, Nat Rev Genet 10:241, 2009. Fuda NJ, Ardehali MB, Lis JT: Defining mechanisms that regulate RNA ­polymerase II transcription in vivo, Nature 461:186, 2009. Hahn S: Structure and mechanism of the RNA polymerase II transcription machinery, Nat Struct Mol Biol 11:394, 2004.

41

Unit I

of this is the fact that in people whose immune systems have been suppressed, such as in those taking immunosuppressant drugs after kidney or heart transplantation, the probability of a cancer’s developing is multiplied as much as fivefold. Fourth, usually several different activated oncogenes are required simultaneously to cause a cancer. For instance, one such gene might promote rapid reproduction of a cell line, but no cancer occurs because there is not a simultaneous mutant gene to form the needed blood vessels. But what is it that causes the altered genes? Considering that many trillions of new cells are formed each year in humans, a better question might be, why is it that all of us do not develop millions or billions of mutant cancerous cells? The answer is the incredible precision with which DNA chromosomal strands are replicated in each cell before mitosis can take place, and also the proofreading process that cuts and repairs any abnormal DNA strand before the mitotic process is allowed to proceed. Yet despite all these inherited cellular precautions, probably one newly formed cell in every few million still has significant mutant characteristics. Thus, chance alone is all that is required for mutations to take place, so we can suppose that a large number of cancers are merely the result of an unlucky occurrence. However, the probability of mutations can be increased manyfold when a person is exposed to certain chemical, physical, or biological factors, including the following:

Unit I  Introduction to Physiology: The Cell and General Physiology Hastings PJ, Lupski JR, Rosenberg SM, et al: Mechanisms of change in gene copy number, Nat Rev Genet 10:551, 2009. Hoeijmakers JH: DNA damage, aging, and cancer, N Engl J Med 361:1475, 2009. Hotchkiss RS, Strasser A, McDunn JE, et al: Cell death, N Engl J Med 361:1570, 2009. Jinek M, Doudna JA: A three-dimensional view of the molecular machinery of RNA interference, Nature 457:40, 2009. Jockusch BM, Hüttelmaier S, Illenberger S: From the nucleus toward the cell periphery: a guided tour for mRNAs, News Physiol Sci 18:7, 2003. Kim VN, Han J, Siomi MC: Biogenesis of small RNAs in animals, Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 10:126, 2009.

42

Misteli T, Soutoglou E: The emerging role of nuclear architecture in DNA repair and genome maintenance, Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 10:243, 2009. Moazed D: Small RNAs in transcriptional gene silencing and genome defence, Nature 457:413, 2009. Siller KH, Doe CQ: Spindle orientation during asymmetric cell division, Nat Cell Biol 11:365, 2009. Sims RJ 3rd, Reinberg D: Is there a code embedded in proteins that is based on post-translational modifications? Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 9:815, 2008. Stappenbeck TS, Miyoshi H: The role of stromal stem cells in tissue regeneration and wound repair. Science 324:1666, 2009. Sutherland H, Bickmore WA: Transcription factories: gene expression in unions?, Nat Rev Genet 10:457, 2009.

Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle 4. Transport of Substances Through Cell Membranes 5. Membrane Potentials and Action Potentials 6. Contraction of Skeletal Muscle 7. Excitation of Skeletal Muscle: Neuromuscular Transmission and Excitation-Contraction Coupling 8. Excitation and Contraction of Smooth Muscle

Unit

II

This page intentionally left blank

chapter 4

Figure 4-1 gives the approximate concentrations of important electrolytes and other substances in the extracellular fluid and intracellular fluid. Note that the extracellular fluid contains a large amount of sodium but only a small amount of potassium. Exactly the opposite is true of the intracellular fluid. Also, the extracellular fluid contains a large amount of chloride ions, whereas the intracellular fluid contains very little. But the concentrations of phosphates and proteins in the intracellular fluid are considerably greater than those in the extracellular fluid. These differences are extremely important to the life of the cell. The purpose of this chapter is to explain how the differences are brought about by the transport mechanisms of the cell membranes.

The Lipid Barrier of the Cell Membrane, and Cell Membrane Transport Proteins The structure of the membrane covering the outside of every cell of the body is discussed in Chapter 2 and illustrated in Figures 2-3 and 4-2. This membrane consists almost entirely of a lipid bilayer, but it also contains large numbers of protein molecules in the lipid, many of which penetrate all the way through the membrane, as shown in Figure 4-2. The lipid bilayer is not miscible with either the extracellular fluid or the intracellular fluid. Therefore, it constitutes a barrier against movement of water molecules and water-soluble substances between the extracellular and intracellular fluid compartments. However, as demonstrated in Figure 4-2 by the leftmost arrow, a few substances can penetrate this lipid bilayer, diffusing directly through the lipid substance itself; this is true mainly of lipid-soluble substances, as described later. The protein molecules in the membrane have entirely different properties for transporting substances. Their molecular structures interrupt the continuity of the lipid bilayer, constituting an alternative pathway through the cell membrane. Most of these penetrating proteins,

t­ herefore, can function as transport proteins. Different proteins function differently. Some have watery spaces all the way through the molecule and allow free movement of water, as well as selected ions or molecules; these are called channel proteins. Others, called carrier proteins, bind with molecules or ions that are to be transported; conformational changes in the protein molecules then move the substances through the interstices of the protein to the other side of the membrane. Both the channel proteins and the carrier proteins are usually highly selective for the types of molecules or ions that are allowed to cross the membrane.

“Diffusion” Versus “Active Transport.”  Transport through the cell membrane, either directly through the lipid bilayer or through the proteins, occurs by one of two basic processes: diffusion or active transport.

EXTRACELLULAR FLUID

INTRACELLULAR FLUID

Na+ --------------- 142 mEq/L --------- 10 mEq/L K+ ----------------- 4 mEq/L ------------ 140 mEq/L Ca++ -------------- 2.4 mEq/L ---------- 0.0001 mEq/L Mg++ -------------- 1.2 mEq/L ---------- 58 mEq/L Cl– ---------------- 103 mEq/L --------- 4 mEq/L HCO3– ------------ 28 mEq/L ----------- 10 mEq/L Phosphates----- 4 mEq/L -------------75 mEq/L SO4= -------------- 1 mEq/L -------------2 mEq/L Glucose --------- 90 mg/dl ------------ 0 to 20 mg/dl Amino acids ---- 30 mg/dl ------------ 200 mg/dl ?

Cholesterol Phospholipids Neutral fat

0.5 g/dl-------------- 2 to 95 g/dl

PO2 --------------- 35 mm Hg --------- 20 mm Hg ? PCO2 ------------- 46 mm Hg --------- 50 mm Hg ? pH ----------------- 7.4 ------------------- 7.0 Proteins ---------- 2 g/dl ---------------- 16 g/dl (5 mEq/L) (40 mEq/L)

Figure 4-1  Chemical compositions of extracellular and intracellular fluids.

45

U n i t II

Transport of Substances Through Cell Membranes

Unit II  Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle Channel protein

Carrier proteins

Energy Simple diffusion

Facilitated diffusion Diffusion

Active transport

Figure 4-2  Transport pathways through the cell membrane, and the basic mechanisms of transport.

Although there are many variations of these basic mechanisms, diffusion means random molecular movement of substances molecule by molecule, either through intermolecular spaces in the membrane or in combination with a carrier protein. The energy that causes diffusion is the energy of the normal kinetic motion of matter. By contrast, active transport means movement of ions or other substances across the membrane in combination with a carrier protein in such a way that the carrier protein causes the substance to move against an energy gradient, such as from a low-concentration state to a high-concentration state. This movement requires an additional source of energy besides kinetic energy. Following is a more detailed explanation of the basic physics and physical chemistry of these two processes.

Diffusion All molecules and ions in the body fluids, including water molecules and dissolved substances, are in constant motion, each particle moving its own separate way. Motion of these particles is what physicists call “heat”—the greater the motion, the higher the temperature—and the motion never ceases under any condition except at absolute zero temperature. When a moving molecule, A, approaches a stationary molecule, B, the electrostatic and other nuclear forces of molecule A repel molecule B, transferring some of the energy of motion of molecule A to molecule B. Consequently, molecule B gains kinetic energy of motion, while molecule A slows down, losing some of its kinetic energy. Thus, as shown in Figure 4-3, a single molecule

in a solution bounces among the other molecules first in one direction, then another, then another, and so forth, randomly bouncing thousands of times each second. This continual movement of molecules among one another in liquids or in gases is called diffusion. Ions diffuse in the same manner as whole molecules, and even suspended colloid particles diffuse in a similar manner, except that the colloids diffuse far less rapidly than molecular substances because of their large size.

Diffusion Through the Cell Membrane Diffusion through the cell membrane is divided into two subtypes called simple diffusion and facilitated diffusion. Simple diffusion means that kinetic movement of ­molecules or ions occurs through a membrane opening or through intermolecular spaces without any interaction with carrier proteins in the membrane. The rate of diffusion is determined by the amount of substance available, the velocity of kinetic motion, and the number and sizes of openings in the membrane through which the molecules or ions can move. Facilitated diffusion requires interaction of a carrier protein. The carrier protein aids passage of the molecules or ions through the membrane by binding chemically with them and shuttling them through the membrane in this form. Simple diffusion can occur through the cell ­membrane by two pathways: (1) through the interstices of the lipid bilayer if the diffusing substance is lipid soluble and (2) through watery channels that penetrate all the way through some of the large transport proteins, as shown to the left in Figure 4-2.

Diffusion of Lipid-Soluble Substances Through the Lipid Bilayer.  One of the most important factors that deter-

mines how rapidly a substance diffuses through the lipid bilayer is the lipid solubility of the substance. For instance, the lipid solubilities of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and alcohols are high, so all these can dissolve directly in the lipid bilayer and diffuse through the cell membrane in the same manner that diffusion of water solutes occurs in a watery solution. For obvious reasons, the rate of diffusion of each of these substances through the membrane is directly proportional to its lipid solubility. Especially large amounts of oxygen can be transported in this way; therefore, oxygen can be delivered to the interior of the cell almost as though the cell membrane did not exist.

Diffusion of Water and Other Lipid-Insoluble Molecules Through Protein Channels.  Even though

Figure 4-3  Diffusion of a fluid molecule during a thousandth of a second.

46

water is highly insoluble in the membrane lipids, it readily passes through channels in protein molecules that penetrate all the way through the membrane. The rapidity with which water molecules can move through most cell membranes is astounding. As an example, the total amount of water that diffuses in each direction through the red cell membrane during each second is about 100 times as great as the volume of the red cell itself.

Chapter 4  Transport of Substances Through Cell Membranes Pore loop Outside

Potassium ion

Diffusion Through Protein Pores and Channels— Selective Permeability and “Gating” of Channels Computerized three-dimensional reconstructions of protein pores and channels have demonstrated tubular pathways all the way from the extracellular to the intracellular fluid. Therefore, substances can move by simple diffusion directly along these pores and channels from one side of the membrane to the other. Pores are composed of integral cell membrane proteins that form open tubes through the membrane and are always open. However, the diameter of a pore and its electrical charges provide selectivity that permits only certain molecules to pass through. For example, protein pores, called aquaporins or water channels, permit rapid passage of water through cell membranes but exclude other ­molecules. At least 13 different types of aquaporins have been found in various cells of the human body. Aquaporins have a narrow pore that permits water molecules to diffuse through the membrane in single file. The pore is too narrow to permit passage of any hydrated ions. As discussed in Chapters 29 and 75, the density of some aquaporins (e.g., aquaporin-2) in cell membranes is not static but is altered in different physiological conditions. The protein channels are distinguished by two important characteristics: (1) They are often selectively permeable to certain substances, and (2) many of the channels can be opened or closed by gates that are regulated by electrical signals (voltage-gated channels) or chemicals that bind to the channel proteins (ligand-gated channels).

Selective Permeability of Protein Channels.  Many of the protein channels are highly selective for transport of one or more specific ions or molecules. This results from the characteristics of the channel itself, such as its diameter, its shape, and the nature of the electrical charges and chemical bonds along its inside surfaces. Potassium channels permit passage of potassium ions across the cell membrane about 1000 times more readily than they permit passage of sodium ions. This high degree of selectivity, however, cannot be explained entirely by molecular diameters of the ions since potassium ions are slightly larger than sodium ions. What is the mechanism for this remarkable ion selectivity? This question was partially answered when the structure of a bacterial potassium channel was determined by x-ray crystallography. Potassium channels were found to have a tetrameric

Selectivity filter

U n i t II

Other lipid-insoluble molecules can pass through the protein pore channels in the same way as water molecules if they are water soluble and small enough. However, as they become larger, their penetration falls off rapidly. For instance, the diameter of the urea molecule is only 20 ­percent greater than that of water, yet its penetration through the cell membrane pores is about 1000 times less than that of water. Even so, given the astonishing rate of water penetration, this amount of urea penetration still allows rapid transport of urea through the membrane within minutes.

Inside Pore helix

Figure 4-4  The structure of a potassium channel. The channel is composed of four subunits (only two are shown), each with two transmembrane helices. A narrow selectivity filter is formed from the pore loops and carbonyl oxygens line the walls of the selectivity filter, forming sites for transiently binding dehydrated potassium ions. The interaction of the potassium ions with carbonyl oxygens causes the potassium ions to shed their bound water molecules, permitting the dehydrated potassium ions to pass through the pore.

structure consisting of four identical protein subunits surrounding a central pore (Figure 4-4). At the top of the channel pore are pore loops that form a ­narrow selectivity filter. Lining the selectivity filter are carbonyl oxygens. When hydrated potassium ions enter the selectivity filter, they interact with the carbonyl oxygens and shed most of their bound water molecules, permitting the dehydrated potassium ions to pass through the channel. The carbonyl oxygens are too far apart, however, to enable them to interact closely with the smaller sodium ions, which are therefore effectively excluded by the selectivity filter from passing through the pore. Different selectivity filters for the various ion channels are believed to determine, in large part, the specificity of the channel for cations or anions or for particular ions, such as Na+, K+, and Ca++, that gain access to the channel. One of the most important of the protein channels, the sodium channel, is only 0.3 by 0.5 nanometer in diameter, but more important, the inner surfaces of this channel are lined with amino acids that are strongly negatively charged, as shown by the negative signs inside the channel proteins in the top panel of Figure 4-5. These strong negative charges can pull small dehydrated sodium ions into these channels, actually pulling the sodium ions away from their hydrating water molecules. Once in the channel, the sodium ions diffuse in either direction according to the usual laws of diffusion. Thus, the sodium channel is specifically selective for passage of sodium ions. 47

Unit II  Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle Outside

Gate closed

Na+

Na+

– – –

– – –

– – –







Gate open – – – –

Inside

Outside

Inside

Open-State Versus Closed-State of Gated Channels.  Figure 4-6A shows an especially interest-

Gate closed K+

Gate open K+

Figure 4-5  Transport of sodium and potassium ions through ­protein channels. Also shown are conformational changes in the protein molecules to open or close “gates” guarding the channels.

Gating of Protein Channels.  Gating of protein channels provides a means of controlling ion permeability of the channels. This is shown in both panels of Figure 4-5 for selective gating of sodium and potassium ions. It is believed that some of the gates are actual gatelike extensions of the transport protein molecule, which can close the opening of the channel or can be lifted away from the opening by a conformational change in the shape of the protein molecule itself. The opening and closing of gates are controlled in two principal ways: 1. Voltage gating. In this instance, the molecular conformation of the gate or of its chemical bonds responds to the electrical potential across the cell membrane. For instance, in the top panel of Figure 4-5, when there is a strong negative charge on the inside of the cell membrane, this presumably could cause the outside sodium gates to remain tightly closed; conversely, when the inside of the membrane loses its negative charge, these gates would open suddenly and allow tremendous quantities of sodium to pass inward through the sodium pores. This is the basic mechanism for eliciting action potentials in nerves that are responsible for nerve signals. In the bottom panel of Figure 4-5, the potassium gates are on the intracellular ends of the potassium channels, and they open when the inside of the cell membrane becomes positively charged. The opening of these gates is partly responsible for terminating the action potential, as is discussed more fully in Chapter 5. 2. Chemical (ligand) gating. Some protein channel gates are opened by the binding of a chemical substance (a ligand) with the protein; this causes a conformational or chemical bonding change in the protein molecule that opens or closes the gate. This is called chemical gating 48

or ligand gating. One of the most important instances of chemical gating is the effect of acetylcholine on the socalled acetylcholine channel. Acetylcholine opens the gate of this channel, providing a negatively charged pore about 0.65 nanometer in diameter that allows uncharged molecules or positive ions smaller than this diameter to pass through. This gate is exceedingly important for the transmission of nerve signals from one nerve cell to another (see Chapter 45) and from nerve cells to muscle cells to cause muscle contraction (see Chapter 7).

ing characteristic of most voltage-gated channels. This figure shows two recordings of electrical current flowing through a single sodium channel when there was an approximate 25-millivolt potential gradient across the membrane. Note that the channel conducts current either “all or none.” That is, the gate of the channel snaps open and then snaps closed, each open state lasting for only a fraction of a millisecond up to several milliseconds. This demonstrates the rapidity with which changes can occur during the opening and closing of the protein molecular gates. At one voltage potential, the channel may remain closed all the time or almost all the time, whereas at another voltage level, it may remain open either all or most of the time. At in-between voltages, as shown in the figure, the gates tend to snap open and closed intermittently, giving an average current flow somewhere between the minimum and the maximum.

Patch-Clamp Method for Recording Ion Current Flow Through Single Channels.  One might won-

der how it is technically possible to record ion current flow through single protein channels as shown in Figure 4-6A. This has been achieved by using the “patch-clamp” method illustrated in Figure 4-6B. Very simply, a micropipette, having a tip diameter of only 1 or 2 micrometers, is abutted against the outside of a cell membrane. Then suction is applied inside the pipette to pull the membrane against the tip of the pipette. This creates a seal where the edges of the pipette touch the cell membrane. The result is a minute membrane “patch” at the tip of the pipette through which electrical current flow can be recorded. Alternatively, as shown to the right in Figure 4-6B, the small cell membrane patch at the end of the pipette can be torn away from the cell. The pipette with its sealed patch is then inserted into a free solution. This allows the concentrations of ions both inside the micropipette and in the outside solution to be altered as desired. Also, the voltage between the two sides of the membrane can be set at will—that is, “clamped” to a given voltage. It has been possible to make such patches small enough so that only a single channel protein is found in the membrane patch being studied. By varying the concentrations of different ions, as well as the voltage across the membrane, one can determine the transport characteristics of the single channel and also its gating properties.

Chapter 4  Transport of Substances Through Cell Membranes Open sodium channel

Simple diffusion Vmax Rate of diffusion

0 3

U n i t II

Picoamperes

3

Facilitated diffusion

0 0

2

A

4 6 Milliseconds

8

10

Concentration of substance

Figure 4-7  Effect of concentration of a substance on rate of diffusion through a membrane by simple diffusion and facilitated diffusion. This shows that facilitated diffusion approaches a maximum rate called the Vmax.

Recorder

To recorder

Membrane “patch”

B Figure 4-6  A, Record of current flow through a single voltagegated sodium channel, demonstrating the “all or none” principle for opening and closing of the channel. B, The “patch-clamp” method for recording current flow through a single protein channel. To the left, recording is performed from a “patch” of a living cell membrane. To the right, recording is from a membrane patch that has been torn away from the cell.

Facilitated Diffusion Facilitated diffusion is also called carrier-mediated ­diffusion because a substance transported in this manner diffuses through the membrane using a specific carrier protein to help. That is, the carrier facilitates diffusion of the substance to the other side. Facilitated diffusion differs from simple diffusion in the following important way: Although the rate of simple diffusion through an open channel increases proportionately with the concentration of the diffusing substance,

in facilitated diffusion the rate of diffusion approaches a maximum, called Vmax, as the concentration of the ­diffusing substance increases. This difference between simple ­diffusion and facilitated diffusion is demonstrated in Figure 4-7. The figure shows that as the concentration of the diffusing substance increases, the rate of simple ­diffusion continues to increase proportionately, but in the case of facilitated diffusion, the rate of diffusion cannot rise greater than the Vmax level. What is it that limits the rate of facilitated diffusion? A probable answer is the mechanism illustrated in Figure 4-8. This figure shows a carrier protein with a pore large enough to transport a specific molecule partway through. It also shows a binding “receptor” on the inside of the protein carrier. The molecule to be transported enters the pore and becomes bound. Then, in a fraction of a second, a conformational or chemical change occurs in the carrier protein, so the pore now opens to the opposite side of the membrane. Because the binding force of the receptor is weak, the thermal motion of the attached molecule causes Transported molecule Binding point

Carrier protein and conformational change

Release of binding

Figure 4-8  Postulated mechanism for facilitated diffusion.

49

Unit II

Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle

it to break away and to be released on the opposite side of the membrane. The rate at which molecules can be transported by this mechanism can never be greater than the rate at which the carrier protein molecule can undergo change back and forth between its two states. Note specifically, though, that this mechanism allows the transported molecule to move—that is, to “diffuse”—in either direction through the membrane. Among the most important substances that cross cell membranes by facilitated diffusion are glucose and most of the amino acids. In the case of glucose, at least five glucose transporter molecules have been discovered in various tissues. Some of these can also transport other monosaccharides that have structures similar to that of glucose, including galactose and fructose. One of these, glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4), is activated by insulin, which can increase the rate of facilitated diffusion of glucose as much as 10-fold to 20-fold in insulin-sensitive tissues. This is the principal mechanism by which insulin controls glucose use in the body, as discussed in Chapter 78.

Co

Net Diffusion Rate Is Proportional to the Concentration Difference Across a Membrane. Figure

4-9A shows a cell membrane with a substance in high concentration on the outside and low concentration on the inside. The rate at which the substance diffuses inward is proportional to the concentration of molecules on the outside because this concentration determines how many molecules strike the outside of the membrane each second. Conversely, the rate at which molecules diffuse outward is proportional to their concentration inside the membrane. Therefore, the rate of net diffusion into the cell is proportional to the concentration on the outside minus the concentration on the inside, or: Net diffusion ∝ (Co−Ci)

in which Co is concentration outside and Ci is concentration inside.

Effect of Membrane Electrical Potential on Diffusion of Ions—The “Nernst Potential.” If an

electrical potential is applied across the membrane, as shown in Figure 4-9B, the electrical charges of the ions cause them to move through the membrane even though no concentration difference exists to cause movement. Thus, in the left panel of Figure 4-9B, the concentration of negative ions is the same on both sides of the membrane, but a positive charge has been applied to the right side of the membrane and a negative charge to the left, creating an electrical gradient across the membrane. The positive charge attracts the negative ions, whereas the negative charge repels them. Therefore, net diffusion

50

Ci

A − − – − − − −

B

Factors That Affect Net Rate of Diffusion By now it is evident that many substances can diffuse through the cell membrane. What is usually important is the net rate of diffusion of a substance in the desired direction. This net rate is determined by several factors.

Inside

Outside

− − − − − −

Membrane



+ − − − − − − −



– − −



+



− −



− − − −

Piston





− −



− − − − − − − −

P2

P1

C Figure 4-9 Effect of concentration difference (A), electrical potential difference affecting negative ions (B), and pressure difference (C) to cause diffusion of molecules and ions through a cell membrane.

occurs from left to right. After some time, large quantities of negative ions have moved to the right, creating the condition shown in the right panel of Figure 4-9B, in which a concentration difference of the ions has developed in the direction opposite to the electrical potential difference. The concentration difference now tends to move the ions to the left, while the electrical difference tends to move them to the right. When the concentration difference rises high enough, the two effects balance each other. At normal body temperature (37°C), the electrical difference that will balance a given concentration difference of univalent ions—such as sodium (Na+) ions—can be determined from the following formula, called the Nernst equation: EMF (in millivolts ) = ±61 log

C1 C2

in which EMF is the electromotive force (voltage) between side 1 and side 2 of the membrane, C1 is the concentration on side 1, and C2 is the concentration on side 2. This equation is extremely important in understanding the transmission of nerve impulses and is discussed in much greater detail in Chapter 5.

Effect of a Pressure Difference Across the Membrane. At times, considerable pressure difference develops between the two sides of a diffusible membrane.

Chapter 4  Transport of Substances Through Cell Membranes

Osmosis Across Selectively Permeable Membranes—“Net Diffusion” of Water By far the most abundant substance that diffuses through the cell membrane is water. Enough water ordinarily diffuses in each direction through the red cell membrane per second to equal about 100 times the volume of the cell itself. Yet normally the amount that diffuses in the two directions is balanced so precisely that zero net movement of water occurs. Therefore, the volume of the cell remains constant. However, under certain conditions, a concentration difference for water can develop across a membrane, just as concentration differences for other substances can occur. When this happens, net movement of water does occur across the cell membrane, causing the cell either to swell or shrink, depending on the direction of the water movement. This process of net movement of water caused by a concentration difference of water is called osmosis. To give an example of osmosis, let us assume the conditions shown in Figure 4-10, with pure water on one side of the cell membrane and a solution of sodium chloride on the other side. Water molecules pass through the cell membrane with ease, whereas sodium and chloride ions pass through only with difficulty. Therefore, sodium chloride solution is actually a mixture of permeant water molecules and nonpermeant sodium and chloride ions, and the membrane is said to be selectively permeable to water but much less so to sodium and chloride ions. Yet the presence of the sodium and chloride has displaced some of the water molecules on the side of the membrane where these ions are present and, therefore, has reduced the concentration of water molecules to less than that of pure water. As a result, in the example of Figure 4-10, more water molecules strike the channels on the left side, where there is pure water, than on the right side, where the water concentration has been reduced. Thus, net movement of water occurs from left to right—that is, osmosis occurs from the pure water into the sodium chloride solution.

Water

NaCl solution

U n i t II

This occurs, for instance, at the blood capillary membrane in all tissues of the body. The pressure is about 20 mm Hg greater inside the capillary than outside. Pressure actually means the sum of all the forces of the different molecules striking a unit surface area at a given instant. Therefore, when the pressure is higher on one side of a membrane than on the other, this means that the sum of all the forces of the molecules striking the channels on that side of the membrane is greater than on the other side. In most instances, this is caused by greater numbers of molecules striking the membrane per second on one side than on the other side. The result is that increased amounts of energy are available to cause net movement of molecules from the high-pressure side toward the lowpressure side. This effect is demonstrated in Figure 4-9C, which shows a piston developing high pressure on one side of a “pore,” thereby causing more molecules to strike the pore on this side and, therefore, more molecules to “diffuse” to the other side.

Osmosis

Figure 4-10  Osmosis at a cell membrane when a sodium chloride solution is placed on one side of the membrane and water is placed on the other side.

Osmotic Pressure If in Figure 4-10 pressure were applied to the sodium chloride solution, osmosis of water into this solution would be slowed, stopped, or even reversed. The exact amount of pressure required to stop osmosis is called the osmotic pressure of the sodium chloride solution. The principle of a pressure difference opposing osmosis is demonstrated in Figure 4-11, which shows a selectively permeable membrane separating two columns of fluid, one containing pure water and the other containing a solution of water and any solute that will not penetrate the membrane. Osmosis of water from chamber B into chamber A causes the levels of the fluid columns to become farther and farther apart, until eventually a pressure difference develops between the two sides of the membrane great enough to oppose the osmotic effect. A

B

cm H2O

Semipermeable membrane

Figure 4-11  Demonstration of osmotic pressure caused by osmosis at a semipermeable membrane.

51

Unit II

Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle

The pressure difference across the membrane at this point is equal to the osmotic pressure of the solution that contains the nondiffusible solute. Importance of Number of Osmotic Particles (Molar Concentration) in Determining Osmotic Pressure. The osmotic pressure exerted by particles in a solution, whether they are molecules or ions, is determined by the number of particles per unit volume of fluid, not by the mass of the particles. The reason for this is that each particle in a solution, regardless of its mass, exerts, on average, the same amount of pressure against the membrane. That is, large particles, which have greater mass (m) than small particles, move at slower velocities (v). The small particles move at higher velocities in such a way that their average kinetic energies (k), determined by the equation k=

mv 2

2

are the same for each small particle as for each large particle. Consequently, the factor that determines the osmotic pressure of a solution is the concentration of the solution in terms of number of particles (which is the same as its molar concentration if it is a nondissociated molecule), not in terms of mass of the solute. “Osmolality”—The Osmole. To express the concentration of a solution in terms of numbers of particles, the unit called the osmole is used in place of grams. One osmole is 1 gram molecular weight of osmotically active solute. Thus, 180 grams of glucose, which is 1 gram molecular weight of glucose, is equal to 1 osmole of glucose because glucose does not dissociate into ions. If a solute dissociates into two ions, 1 gram molecular weight of the solute will become 2 osmoles because the number of osmotically active particles is now twice as great as is the case for the nondissociated solute. Therefore, when fully dissociated, 1 gram molecular weight of sodium chloride, 58.5 grams, is equal to 2 osmoles. Thus, a solution that has 1 osmole of solute dissolved in each kilogram of water is said to have an osmolality of 1 osmole per kilogram, and a solution that has 1/1000 osmole dissolved per kilogram has an osmolality of 1 milliosmole per kilogram. The normal osmolality of the extracellular and intracellular fluids is about 300 milliosmoles per kilogram of water. Relation of Osmolality to Osmotic Pressure. At normal body temperature, 37°C, a concentration of 1 osmole per liter will cause 19,300 mm Hg osmotic pressure in the solution. Likewise, 1 milliosmole per liter concentration is equivalent to 19.3 mm Hg osmotic pressure. Multiplying this value by the 300 milliosmolar concentration of the body fluids gives a total calculated osmotic pressure of the body fluids of 5790 mm Hg. The measured value for this, however, averages only about 5500 mm Hg. The reason for this difference is that many of the ions in the body fluids, such as sodium and chloride ions, are highly attracted to one another; consequently, they cannot move entirely unrestrained in the fluids and create their full osmotic 52

pressure potential. Therefore, on average, the actual osmotic pressure of the body fluids is about 0.93 times the calculated value. The Term “Osmolarity.” Osmolarity is the osmolar concentration expressed as osmoles per liter of solution rather than osmoles per kilogram of water. Although, strictly speaking, it is osmoles per kilogram of water (osmolality) that determines osmotic pressure, for dilute solutions such as those in the body, the quantitative differences between osmolarity and osmolality are less than 1 percent. Because it is far more practical to measure osmolarity than osmolality, this is the usual practice in almost all physiological studies.

“Active Transport” of Substances Through Membranes At times, a large concentration of a substance is required in the intracellular fluid even though the extracellular fluid contains only a small concentration. This is true, for instance, for potassium ions. Conversely, it is important to keep the concentrations of other ions very low inside the cell even though their concentrations in the extracellular fluid are great. This is especially true for sodium ions. Neither of these two effects could occur by simple diffusion because simple diffusion eventually equilibrates concentrations on the two sides of the membrane. Instead, some energy source must cause excess movement of potassium ions to the inside of cells and excess movement of sodium ions to the outside of cells. When a cell membrane moves molecules or ions “uphill” against a concentration gradient (or “uphill” against an electrical or pressure gradient), the process is called active transport. Different substances that are actively transported through at least some cell membranes include sodium ions, potassium ions, calcium ions, iron ions, hydrogen ions, chloride ions, iodide ions, urate ions, several different sugars, and most of the amino acids.

Primary Active Transport and Secondary Active Transport. Active transport is divided into two types

according to the source of the energy used to cause the transport: primary active transport and secondary active transport. In primary active transport, the energy is derived directly from breakdown of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) or of some other high-energy phosphate compound. In secondary active transport, the energy is derived secondarily from energy that has been stored in the form of ionic concentration differences of secondary molecular or ionic substances between the two sides of a cell membrane, created originally by primary active transport. In both instances, transport depends on carrier proteins that penetrate through the cell membrane, as is true for facilitated diffusion. However, in active transport, the carrier protein functions differently from the carrier in facilitated diffusion because it is capable of imparting energy to the transported substance to move it against the

Chapter 4  Transport of Substances Through Cell Membranes

electrochemical gradient. Following are some examples of primary active transport and secondary active transport, with more detailed explanations of their principles of function.

Among the substances that are transported by primary active transport are sodium, potassium, calcium, ­hydrogen, chloride, and a few other ions. The active transport mechanism that has been studied in greatest detail is the sodium-potassium (Na+-K+) pump, a transport process that pumps sodium ions outward through the cell membrane of all cells and at the same time pumps potassium ions from the outside to the inside. This pump is responsible for maintaining the sodium and potassium concentration differences across the cell membrane, as well as for establishing a negative electrical voltage inside the cells. Indeed, Chapter 5 shows that this pump is also the basis of nerve function, transmitting nerve signals throughout the nervous system. Figure 4-12 shows the basic physical components of the Na+-K+ pump. The carrier protein is a complex of two separate globular proteins: a larger one called the α subunit, with a molecular weight of about 100,000, and a smaller one called the β subunit, with a molecular weight of about 55,000. Although the function of the smaller protein is not known (except that it might anchor the protein complex in the lipid membrane), the larger protein has three specific features that are important for the functioning of the pump: 1. It has three receptor sites for binding sodium ions on the portion of the protein that protrudes to the inside of the cell. 2. It has two receptor sites for potassium ions on the outside. 3. The inside portion of this protein near the sodium binding sites has ATPase activity. 3Na+

Outside

2K+

ATPase

ATP Inside

3Na+ 2K+

ADP + Pi

Figure 4-12  Postulated mechanism of the sodium-potassium pump. ADP, adenosine diphosphate; ATP, adenosine triphosphate; Pi, phosphate ion.

Electrogenic Nature of the Na+-K+ Pump.  The fact that the Na+-K+ pump moves three Na+ ions to the exterior for every two K+ ions to the interior means that a net of one positive charge is moved from the interior of the cell to the exterior for each cycle of the pump. This creates positivity

53

U n i t II

Primary Active Transport Sodium-Potassium Pump

When two potassium ions bind on the outside of the carrier protein and three sodium ions bind on the inside, the ATPase function of the protein becomes activated. This then cleaves one molecule of ATP, splitting it to ­adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and liberating a highenergy phosphate bond of energy. This liberated energy is then believed to cause a chemical and conformational change in the protein carrier molecule, extruding the three sodium ions to the outside and the two potassium ions to the inside. As with other enzymes, the Na+-K+ ATPase pump can run in reverse. If the electrochemical gradients for Na+ and K+ are experimentally increased enough so that the energy stored in their gradients is greater than the chemical energy of ATP hydrolysis, these ions will move down their concentration gradients and the Na+-K+ pump will synthesize ATP from ADP and phosphate. The phosphorylated form of the Na+-K+ pump, therefore, can either donate its phosphate to ADP to produce ATP or use the energy to change its conformation and pump Na+ out of the cell and K+ into the cell. The relative concentrations of ATP, ADP, and phosphate, as well as the electrochemical gradients for Na+ and K+, determine the direction of the enzyme reaction. For some cells, such as electrically active nerve cells, 60 to 70 percent of the cells’ energy requirement may be devoted to pumping Na+ out of the cell and K+ into the cell. The Na+-K+ Pump is Important For Controlling Cell Volume.  One of the most important functions of the Na+-K+ pump is to control the volume of each cell. Without function of this pump, most cells of the body would swell until they burst. The mechanism for controlling the volume is as follows: Inside the cell are large numbers of proteins and other organic molecules that cannot escape from the cell. Most of these are negatively charged and therefore attract large numbers of potassium, sodium, and other positive ions as well. All these molecules and ions then cause osmosis of water to the interior of the cell. Unless this is checked, the cell will swell indefinitely until it bursts. The normal mechanism for preventing this is the Na+-K+ pump. Note again that this device pumps three Na+ ions to the outside of the cell for every two K+ ions pumped to the interior. Also, the membrane is far less permeable to sodium ions than to potassium ions, so once the sodium ions are on the outside, they have a strong tendency to stay there. Thus, this represents a net loss of ions out of the cell, which initiates osmosis of water out of the cell as well. If a cell begins to swell for any reason, this automatically activates the Na+-K+ pump, moving still more ions to the exterior and carrying water with them. Therefore, the Na+-K+ pump performs a continual surveillance role in maintaining normal cell volume.

Unit II

Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle

outside the cell but leaves a deficit of positive ions inside the cell; that is, it causes negativity on the inside. Therefore, the Na+-K+ pump is said to be electrogenic because it creates an electrical potential across the cell membrane. As discussed in Chapter 5, this electrical potential is a basic requirement in nerve and muscle fibers for transmitting nerve and muscle signals.

Primary Active Transport of Calcium Ions Another important primary active transport mechanism is the calcium pump. Calcium ions are normally maintained at extremely low concentration in the intracellular cytosol of virtually all cells in the body, at a concentration about 10,000 times less than that in the extracellular fluid. This is achieved mainly by two primary active transport calcium pumps. One is in the cell membrane and pumps calcium to the outside of the cell. The other pumps calcium ions into one or more of the intracellular vesicular organelles of the cell, such as the sarcoplasmic reticulum of muscle cells and the mitochondria in all cells. In each of these instances, the carrier protein penetrates the membrane and functions as an enzyme ATPase, having the same capability to cleave ATP as the ATPase of the sodium carrier protein. The difference is that this protein has a highly specific binding site for calcium instead of for sodium.

Primary Active Transport of Hydrogen Ions At two places in the body, primary active transport of hydrogen ions is important: (1) in the gastric glands of the stomach and (2) in the late distal tubules and cortical collecting ducts of the kidneys. In the gastric glands, the deep-lying parietal cells have the most potent primary active mechanism for transporting hydrogen ions of any part of the body. This is the basis for secreting hydrochloric acid in the stomach digestive secretions. At the secretory ends of the gastric gland parietal cells, the hydrogen ion concentration is increased as much as a millionfold and then released into the stomach along with chloride ions to form hydrochloric acid. In the renal tubules are special intercalated cells in the late distal tubules and cortical collecting ducts that also transport hydrogen ions by primary active transport. In this case, large amounts of hydrogen ions are secreted from the blood into the urine for the purpose of eliminating excess hydrogen ions from the body fluids. The hydrogen ions can be secreted into the urine against a concentration gradient of about 900-fold.

Energetics of Primary Active Transport The amount of energy required to transport a substance actively through a membrane is determined by how much the substance is concentrated during transport. Compared with the energy required to concentrate a substance 10-fold, to concentrate it 100-fold requires twice as much energy, and to concentrate it 1000-fold requires three times as much energy. In other words, the energy 54

required is proportional to the logarithm of the degree that the substance is concentrated, as expressed by the following formula: Energy(in calories per osmole)=1400 log

C1 C2

Thus, in terms of calories, the amount of energy required to concentrate 1 osmole of a substance 10-fold is about 1400 calories; or to concentrate it 100-fold, 2800 calories. One can see that the energy expenditure for concentrating substances in cells or for removing substances from cells against a concentration gradient can be tremendous. Some cells, such as those lining the renal tubules and many glandular cells, expend as much as 90 percent of their energy for this purpose alone.

Secondary Active Transport—Co-Transport and Counter-Transport When sodium ions are transported out of cells by primary active transport, a large concentration gradient of sodium ions across the cell membrane usually develops— high concentration outside the cell and low concentration inside. This gradient represents a storehouse of energy because the excess sodium outside the cell membrane is always attempting to diffuse to the interior. Under appropriate conditions, this diffusion energy of sodium can pull other substances along with the sodium through the cell membrane. This phenomenon is called co-transport; it is one form of secondary active transport. For sodium to pull another substance along with it, a coupling mechanism is required. This is achieved by means of still another carrier protein in the cell membrane. The carrier in this instance serves as an attachment point for both the sodium ion and the substance to be co-transported. Once they both are attached, the energy gradient of the sodium ion causes both the sodium ion and the other substance to be transported together to the interior of the cell. In counter-transport, sodium ions again attempt to diffuse to the interior of the cell because of their large concentration gradient. However, this time, the substance to be transported is on the inside of the cell and must be transported to the outside. Therefore, the sodium ion binds to the carrier protein where it projects to the exterior surface of the membrane, while the substance to be counter-transported binds to the interior projection of the carrier protein. Once both have bound, a conformational change occurs, and energy released by the sodium ion moving to the interior causes the other substance to move to the exterior.

Co-Transport of Glucose and Amino Acids Along with Sodium Ions Glucose and many amino acids are transported into most cells against large concentration gradients; the mechanism of this is entirely by co-transport, as shown in Figure 4-13. Note that the transport carrier protein has two binding sites on its exterior side, one for sodium and one

Chapter 4  Transport of Substances Through Cell Membranes Na+ Glucose

Na+

Na+

Outside Na-binding site

Glucose-binding site

H+

Ca++

Figure 4-14  Sodium counter-transport of calcium and hydrogen ions. Na+

Glucose

Figure 4-13  Postulated mechanism for sodium co-transport of glucose.

for glucose. Also, the concentration of sodium ions is high on the outside and low inside, which provides energy for the transport. A special property of the transport protein is that a conformational change to allow sodium movement to the interior will not occur until a glucose molecule also attaches. When they both become attached, the conformational change takes place automatically, and the sodium and glucose are transported to the inside of the cell at the same time. Hence, this is a sodium-glucose co-transport mechanism. Sodium-glucose co-transporters are especially important mechanisms in transporting glucose across renal and intestinal epithelial cells, as discussed in Chapters 27 and 65. Sodium co-transport of the amino acids occurs in the same manner as for glucose, except that it uses a different set of transport proteins. Five amino acid transport proteins have been identified, each of which is responsible for transporting one subset of amino acids with specific molecular characteristics. Sodium co-transport of glucose and amino acids occurs especially through the epithelial cells of the intestinal tract and the renal tubules of the kidneys to promote absorption of these substances into the blood, as is discussed in later chapters. Other important co-transport mechanisms in at least some cells include co-transport of chloride ions, iodine ions, iron ions, and urate ions.

from the lumen of the tubule to the interior of the tubular cell, while hydrogen ions are counter-transported into the tubule lumen. As a mechanism for concentrating hydrogen ions, counter-transport is not nearly as powerful as the primary active transport of hydrogen ions that occurs in the more distal renal tubules, but it can transport extremely large numbers of hydrogen ions, thus making it a key to hydrogen ion control in the body fluids, as discussed in detail in Chapter 30.

Active Transport Through Cellular Sheets At many places in the body, substances must be transported all the way through a cellular sheet instead of simply through the cell membrane. Transport of this type occurs through the (1) intestinal epithelium, (2) epithelium of the renal tubules, (3) epithelium of all exocrine glands, (4) epithelium of the gallbladder, and (5) membrane of the choroid plexus of the brain and other membranes. The basic mechanism for transport of a substance through a cellular sheet is (1) active transport through the cell membrane on one side of the transporting cells in the sheet, and then (2) either simple diffusion or facilitated diffusion through the membrane on the opposite side of the cell. Figure 4-15 shows a mechanism for transport of sodium ions through the epithelial sheet of the intestines, gallbladder, and renal tubules. This figure shows that the epithelial cells are connected together tightly at the luminal pole by means of junctions called “kisses.” The brush border on the luminal surfaces of the cells

Sodium Counter-Transport of Calcium and Hydrogen Ions

Lumen

Na+

Na+

Basement membrane

Na+ Active transport

Osmosis

Active transport Na+

Osmosis Active transport

Na+ and H2O

Connective tissue

Two especially important counter-transport mechanisms (transport in a direction opposite to the primary ion) are sodium-calcium counter-transport and sodium-hydrogen counter-transport (Figure 4-14). Sodium-calcium counter-transport occurs through all or almost all cell membranes, with sodium ions ­moving to the interior and calcium ions to the exterior, both bound to the same transport protein in a counter-transport mode. This is in addition to primary active transport of calcium that occurs in some cells. Sodium-hydrogen counter-transport occurs in several tissues. An especially important example is in the proximal tubules of the kidneys, where sodium ions move

Brush border

Osmosis Diffusion

Figure 4-15  Basic mechanism of active transport across a layer of cells.

55

U n i t II

Inside

Unit II  Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle

is permeable to both sodium ions and water. Therefore, sodium and water diffuse readily from the lumen into the interior of the cell. Then, at the basal and lateral membranes of the cells, sodium ions are actively transported into the extracellular fluid of the surrounding connective tissue and blood vessels. This creates a high sodium ion concentration gradient across these membranes, which in turn causes osmosis of water as well. Thus, active transport of sodium ions at the basolateral sides of the epithelial cells results in transport not only of sodium ions but also of water. These are the mechanisms by which almost all the nutrients, ions, and other substances are absorbed into the blood from the intestine; they are also the way the same substances are reabsorbed from the glomerular ­filtrate by the renal tubules. Throughout this text are numerous examples of the different types of transport discussed in this chapter.

Bibliography Agre P, Kozono D: Aquaporin water channels: molecular mechanisms for human diseases, FEBS Lett 555:72, 2003. Ashcroft FM: From molecule to malady, Nature 440:440, 2006. Benos DJ, Stanton BA: Functional domains within the degenerin/epithelial sodium channel (Deg/ENaC) superfamily of ion channels, J Physiol 520:631, 1999. Benziane B, Chibalin AV: Frontiers: skeletal muscle sodium pump regulation: a translocation paradigm, Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 295:E553, 2008. Biel M, Wahl-Schott C, Michalakis S, Zong X: Hyperpolarization-activated cation channels: from genes to function, Physiol Rev 89:847, 2009. Blaustein MP, Zhang J, Chen L, et al: The pump, the exchanger, and endogenous ouabain: signaling mechanisms that link salt retention to hypertension, Hypertension 53:291, 2009.

56

Bröer S: Amino acid transport across mammalian intestinal and renal ­epithelia, Physiol Rev 88:249, 2008. DeCoursey TE: Voltage-gated proton channels: what’s next? J Physiol 586:5305, 2008. Decoursey TE: Voltage-gated proton channels and other proton transfer pathways, Physiol Rev 83:475, 2003. DiPolo R, Beaugé L: Sodium/calcium exchanger: influence of metabolic regulation on ion carrier interactions, Physiol Rev 86:155, 2006. Drummond HA, Jernigan NL, Grifoni SC: Sensing tension: epithelial sodium channel/acid-sensing ion channel proteins in cardiovascular homeostasis, Hypertension 51:1265, 2008. Gadsby DC: Ion channels versus ion pumps: the principal difference, in principle, Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 10:344, 2009. Jentsch TJ, Stein V, Weinreich F, Zdebik AA: Molecular structure and physiological function of chloride channels, Physiol Rev 82:503, 2002. Kaupp UB, Seifert R: Cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channels, Physiol Rev 82:769, 2002. King LS, Kozono D, Agre P: From structure to disease: the evolving tale of aquaporin biology, Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 5:687, 2004. Kleyman TR, Carattino MD, Hughey RP: ENaC at the cutting edge: regulation of epithelial sodium channels by proteases, J Biol Chem 284:20447, 2009. Mazzochi C, Benos DJ, Smith PR: Interaction of epithelial ion channels with the actin-based cytoskeleton, Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 291:F1113, 2006. Peres A, Giovannardi S, Bossi E, Fesce R: Electrophysiological insights into the mechanism of ion-coupled cotransporters, News Physiol Sci 19:80, 2004. Russell JM: Sodium-potassium-chloride cotransport, Physiol Rev 80:211, 2000. Shin JM, Munson K, Vagin O, Sachs G: The gastric HK-ATPase: structure, function, and inhibition, Pflugers Arch 457:609, 2009. Tian J, Xie ZJ: The Na-K-ATPase and calcium-signaling microdomains, Physiology (Bethesda) 23:205, 2008.

chapter 5

Electrical potentials exist across the membranes of virtually all cells of the body. In addition, some cells, such as nerve and muscle cells, are capable of generating rapidly changing electrochemical impulses at their membranes, and these impulses are used to transmit signals along the nerve or muscle membranes. In other types of cells, such as glandular cells, macrophages, and ciliated cells, local changes in membrane potentials also activate many of the cells’ functions. The present discussion is concerned with membrane potentials generated both at rest and during action by nerve and muscle cells.

Basic Physics of Membrane Potentials Membrane Potentials Caused by Diffusion “Diffusion Potential” Caused by an Ion Concentration Difference on the Two Sides of the Membrane.  In

Figure 5-1A, the potassium concentration is great inside a nerve fiber membrane but very low outside the membrane. Let us assume that the membrane in this instance is permeable to the potassium ions but not to any other ions. Because of the large potassium concentration gradient from inside toward outside, there is a strong tendency for extra numbers of potassium ions to diffuse outward through the membrane. As they do so, they carry positive electrical charges to the outside, thus creating electropositivity outside the membrane and electronegativity inside because of negative anions that remain behind and do not diffuse outward with the potassium. Within a millisecond or so, the potential difference between the inside and outside, called the diffusion potential, becomes great enough to block further net potassium diffusion to the exterior, despite the high potassium ion concentration gradient. In the normal mammalian nerve fiber, the potential difference required is about 94 millivolts, with negativity inside the fiber membrane. Figure 5-1B shows the same phenomenon as in Figure 5-1A, but this time with high concentration of sodium ions outside the membrane and low sodium inside. These ions

are also positively charged. This time, the membrane is highly permeable to the sodium ions but impermeable to all other ions. Diffusion of the positively charged sodium ions to the inside creates a membrane potential of opposite polarity to that in Figure 5-1A, with negativity outside and positivity inside. Again, the membrane potential rises high enough within milliseconds to block further net diffusion of sodium ions to the inside; however, this time, in the mammalian nerve fiber, the potential is about 61 millivolts positive inside the fiber. Thus, in both parts of Figure 5-1, we see that a concentration difference of ions across a selectively permeable membrane can, under appropriate conditions, create a membrane potential. Later in this chapter, we show that many of the rapid changes in membrane potentials observed during nerve and muscle impulse transmission result from the occurrence of such rapidly changing diffusion potentials.

Relation of the Diffusion Potential to the Concentration Difference—The Nernst Potential.  The diffusion potential level across a membrane that exactly opposes the net diffusion of a particular ion through the membrane is called the Nernst potential for that ion, a term that was introduced in Chapter 4. DIFFUSION POTENTIALS Nerve fiber (Anions)– Nerve fiber – + – + + – – – + (Anions) – + (Anions) + – + + – – + – + + – + – + – + + – + + + + + K Na K Na – + – + + – + – + – + + – + – + – + + – + (–94 mV) (+61 mV) – + + – + – + + – + – + + – – + +

(Anions)–

A

– – – – – – – – – –

B

Figure 5-1  A, Establishment of a “diffusion” potential across a nerve fiber membrane, caused by diffusion of potassium ions from inside the cell to outside through a membrane that is selectively permeable only to potassium. B, Establishment of a “diffusion potential” when the nerve fiber membrane is permeable only to sodium ions. Note that the internal membrane potential is negative when potassium ions diffuse and positive when sodium ions diffuse because of opposite concentration gradients of these two ions.

57

U n i t II

Membrane Potentials and Action Potentials

Unit II  Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle

The magnitude of this Nernst potential is determined by the ratio of the concentrations of that specific ion on the two sides of the membrane. The greater this ratio, the greater the tendency for the ion to diffuse in one direction, and therefore the greater the Nernst potential required to prevent additional net diffusion. The following equation, called the Nernst equation, can be used to calculate the Nernst potential for any univalent ion at normal body temperature of 98.6°F (37°C): EMF (millivolts) = ± 61 × log

Concentration inside Concentration outside

where EMF is electromotive force. When using this formula, it is usually assumed that the potential in the extracellular fluid outside the membrane remains at zero potential, and the Nernst potential is the potential inside the membrane. Also, the sign of the potential is positive (+) if the ion diffusing from inside to outside is a negative ion, and it is negative (−) if the ion is positive. Thus, when the concentration of positive potassium ions on the inside is 10 times that on the outside, the log of 10 is 1, so the Nernst potential calculates to be −61 millivolts inside the membrane.

Calculation of the Diffusion Potential When the Membrane Is Permeable to Several Different Ions When a membrane is permeable to several different ions, the diffusion potential that develops depends on three factors: (1) the polarity of the electrical charge of each ion, (2) the permeability of the membrane (P) to each ion, and (3) the concentrations (C) of the respective ions on the inside (i) and outside (o) of the membrane. Thus, the following formula, called the Goldman equation, or the Goldman-HodgkinKatz equation, gives the calculated membrane potential on the inside of the membrane when two univalent positive ions, sodium (Na+) and potassium (K+), and one univalent negative ion, chloride (Cl−), are involved. EMF (millivolts) CNa+i PNa+ + CK+i PK+ +CCl-o PCl= -61 × log CNa+o PNa+ + CK+o PK+ +CCl-i PCl-

Let us study the importance and the meaning of this equation. First, sodium, potassium, and chloride ions are the most important ions involved in the development of membrane potentials in nerve and muscle fibers, as well as in the neuronal cells in the nervous system. The concentration gradient of each of these ions across the membrane helps determine the voltage of the membrane potential. Second, the degree of importance of each of the ions in determining the voltage is proportional to the membrane permeability for that particular ion. That is, if the membrane has zero permeability to both potassium and chloride ions, the membrane potential becomes entirely dominated by the concentration gradient of sodium ions alone, and the resulting potential will be equal to the Nernst potential for sodium. The same holds for each of the other two ions if the membrane should become selectively permeable for either one of them alone. 58

Third, a positive ion concentration gradient from inside the membrane to the outside causes electronegativity inside the membrane. The reason for this is that excess positive ions diffuse to the outside when their concentration is higher inside than outside. This carries positive charges to the outside but leaves the nondiffusible negative anions on the inside, thus creating electronegativity on the inside. The opposite effect occurs when there is a gradient for a negative ion. That is, a chloride ion gradient from the outside to the inside causes negativity inside the cell because excess negatively charged chloride ions ­diffuse to the inside, while leaving the nondiffusible positive ions on the outside. Fourth, as explained later, the permeability of the sodium and potassium channels undergoes rapid changes during transmission of a nerve impulse, whereas the permeability of the chloride channels does not change greatly during this process. Therefore, rapid changes in sodium and potassium permeability are primarily responsible for signal transmission in neurons, which is the subject of most of the remainder of this chapter.

Measuring the Membrane Potential The method for measuring the membrane potential is simple in theory but often difficult in practice because of the small size of most of the fibers. Figure 5-2 shows a small pipette filled with an electrolyte solution. The pipette is impaled through the cell membrane to the interior of the fiber. Then another electrode, called the “indifferent electrode,” is placed in the extracellular fluid, and the potential difference between the inside and outside of the fiber is measured using an appropriate voltmeter. This voltmeter is a highly sophisticated electronic apparatus that is capable of measuring small voltages despite extremely high resistance to electrical flow through the tip of the micropipette, which has a lumen diameter usually less than 1 micrometer and a resistance more than a million ohms. For recording rapid changes in the ­membrane potential during transmission of nerve impulses, the microelectrode is connected to an oscilloscope, as explained later in the chapter. The lower part of Figure 5-2 shows the electrical potential that is measured at each point in or near the nerve fiber membrane, beginning at the left side of the figure and

0 —

+ I

KC +++++++++++ ––––––––––

+++++ –––––

Silver–silver chloride electrode

– – – – – – – – – (–90 – – – – – – – + + + + + + + + + mV) + + + + + + + +

Figure 5-2  Measurement of the membrane potential of the nerve fiber using a microelectrode.

Chapter 5  Membrane Potentials and Action Potentials Nerve fiber

Electrical potential (millivolts)

0

–90

Figure 5-3  Distribution of positively and negatively charged ions in the extracellular fluid surrounding a nerve fiber and in the fluid inside the fiber; note the alignment of negative charges along the inside surface of the membrane and positive charges along the outside surface. The lower panel displays the abrupt changes in membrane potential that occur at the membranes on the two sides of the fiber.

passing to the right. As long as the electrode is outside the nerve membrane, the recorded potential is zero, which is the potential of the extracellular fluid. Then, as the recording electrode passes through the voltage change area at the cell membrane (called the electrical dipole layer), the potential decreases abruptly to −90 ­millivolts. Moving across the center of the fiber, the potential remains at a steady −90-millivolt level but reverses back to zero the instant it passes through the membrane on the opposite side of the fiber. To create a negative potential inside the membrane, only enough positive ions to develop the electrical dipole layer at the membrane itself must be transported outward. All the remaining ions inside the nerve fiber can be both positive and negative, as shown in the upper panel of Figure 5-3. Therefore, an incredibly small number of ions must be transferred through the membrane to establish the normal “resting potential” of −90 millivolts inside the nerve fiber; this means that only about 1/3,000,000 to 1/100,000,000 of the total positive charges inside the fiber must be transferred. Also, an equally small number of positive ions moving from outside to inside the fiber can reverse the potential from −90 millivolts to as much as +35 millivolts within as little as 1/10,000 of a second. Rapid shifting of ions in this manner causes the nerve signals discussed in subsequent sections of this chapter.

Active Transport of Sodium and Potassium Ions Through the Membrane—The Sodium-Potassium (Na+-K+) Pump.  First, let us recall from Chapter 4 that

all cell membranes of the body have a powerful Na+-K+ pump that continually transports sodium ions to the outside of the cell and potassium ions to the inside, as illustrated on the left-hand side in Figure 5-4. Further, note that this is an electrogenic pump because more positive charges are pumped to the outside than to the inside (three Na+ ions to the outside for each two K+ ions to the inside), leaving a net deficit of positive ions on the inside; this causes a negative potential inside the cell membrane. The Na+-K+ pump also causes large concentration gradients for sodium and potassium across the resting nerve membrane. These gradients are the following: Na+ (outside): 142 mEq/L Na+ (inside): 14 mEq/L K+ (outside): 4 mEq/L K+ (inside): 140 mEq/L

The ratios of these two respective ions from the inside to the outside are Na+inside/Na+outside = 0.1 K+inside/K+outside = 35.0

Leakage of Potassium Through the Nerve Membrane.  The right side of Figure 5-4 shows a chan-

nel protein, sometimes called a “tandem pore domain,” ­potassium channel, or potassium (K+) “leak” channel, in the nerve membrane through which potassium can leak even in a resting cell. The basic structure of potassium channels was described in Chapter 4 (Figure 4-4). These K+ leak channels may also leak sodium ions slightly but are far more permeable to potassium than to sodium, normally about 100 times as permeable. As discussed later, this differential in permeability is a key factor in determining the level of the normal resting membrane potential. Outside 3Na+

2K+

Selectivity filter

K+

Resting Membrane Potential of Nerves The resting membrane potential of large nerve fibers when not transmitting nerve signals is about −90 millivolts. That is, the potential inside the fiber is 90 millivolts more negative than the potential in the extracellular fluid on the outside of the fiber. In the next few paragraphs, the transport properties of the resting nerve membrane for sodium and potassium and the factors that determine the level of this resting potential are explained.

ATP

K+ Na+ + + Na -K pump

ADP

Na+

K+

K+ "leak" channels

Figure 5-4  Functional characteristics of the Na+-K+ pump and of the K+ “leak” channels. ADP, adenosine diphosphate; ATP, adenosine triphosphate. The K+ “leak” channels also leak Na+ ions into the cell slightly, but are much more permeable to K+.

59

U n i t II

–+–+–+–+–+–+–+– +–++––+–+––++–+ –+–+–+–+–+–+–+– +–++––+–+––++–+ –+–+–+–+–+–+–+– +–++––+–+––++–+ –+–+–+–+–+–+–+– +–++––+–+––++–+ –+–+–+–+–+–+–+– +–++––+–+––++–+

Unit II  Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle

Origin of the Normal Resting Membrane Potential Figure 5-5 shows the important factors in the establishment of the normal resting membrane potential of −90 millivolts. They are as follows.

Contribution of the Potassium Diffusion Potential. 

In Figure 5-5A, we make the assumption that the only movement of ions through the membrane is diffusion of potassium ions, as demonstrated by the open channels between the potassium symbols (K+) inside and outside the membrane. Because of the high ratio of potassium ions inside to outside, 35:1, the Nernst potential corresponding to this ratio is −94 millivolts because the logarithm of 35 is 1.54, and this multiplied by −61 millivolts is −94 millivolts. Therefore, if potassium ions were the only factor causing the resting potential, the resting potential K+ 4 mEq/L K+ 140 mEq/L

(–94 mV)

(−94 mV)

Na+

K+

142 mEq/L

4 mEq/L

Na+ 14 mEq/L

K+ 140 mEq/L

(+61 mV)

(–94 mV)

(–86 mV)

B + + Diffusion Na+

+

-

pump + 142 mEq/L + + + -

Na+ 14 mEq/L

Diffusion + pump + 4 mEq/L + + + + (Anions)- + K+

K+ 140 mEq/L (–90 mV) (Anions)-

-

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Figure 5-5  Establishment of resting membrane potentials in nerve fibers under three conditions: A, when the membrane potential is caused entirely by potassium diffusion alone; B, when the ­membrane potential is caused by diffusion of both sodium and potassium ions; and C, when the membrane potential is caused by diffusion of both sodium and potassium ions plus pumping of both these ions by the Na+-K+ pump.

60

Contribution of Sodium Diffusion Through the Nerve Membrane.  Figure 5-5B shows the addition of

slight permeability of the nerve membrane to sodium ions, caused by the minute diffusion of sodium ions through the K+-Na+ leak channels. The ratio of sodium ions from inside to outside the membrane is 0.1, and this gives a calculated Nernst potential for the inside of the membrane of +61 millivolts. But also shown in Figure 5-5B is the Nernst potential for potassium diffusion of −94 millivolts. How do these interact with each other, and what will be the summated potential? This can be answered by using the Goldman equation described previously. Intuitively, one can see that if the membrane is highly permeable to potassium but only slightly permeable to sodium, it is logical that the diffusion of potassium contributes far more to the membrane potential than does the diffusion of sodium. In the normal nerve fiber, the permeability of the membrane to potassium is about 100 times as great as its permeability to sodium. Using this value in the Goldman equation gives a potential inside the membrane of −86 millivolts, which is near the potassium potential shown in the figure.

Contribution of the Na+-K+ Pump.  In Figure 5-5C,

A

C

inside the fiber would be equal to −94 millivolts, as shown in the figure.

the Na+-K+ pump is shown to provide an additional contribution to the resting potential. In this figure, there is continuous pumping of three sodium ions to the outside for each two potassium ions pumped to the inside of the membrane. The fact that more sodium ions are being pumped to the outside than potassium to the inside causes continual loss of positive charges from inside the membrane; this creates an additional degree of negativity (about −4 millivolts additional) on the inside beyond that which can be accounted for by diffusion alone. Therefore, as shown in Figure 5-5C, the net membrane potential with all these factors operative at the same time is about −90 millivolts. In summary, the diffusion potentials alone caused by potassium and sodium diffusion would give a membrane potential of about −86 millivolts, almost all of this being determined by potassium diffusion. Then, an additional −4 millivolts is contributed to the membrane potential by the continuously acting electrogenic Na+-K+ pump, giving a net membrane potential of −90 millivolts.

Nerve Action Potential Nerve signals are transmitted by action potentials, which are rapid changes in the membrane potential that spread rapidly along the nerve fiber membrane. Each action potential begins with a sudden change from the normal resting negative membrane potential to a positive potential and then ends with an almost equally rapid change back to the negative potential. To conduct a nerve signal, the action potential moves along the nerve fiber until it comes to the fiber’s end.

Chapter 5  Membrane Potentials and Action Potentials

neurons, the potential merely approaches the zero level and does not overshoot to the positive state.

0 —

+

++++ ––––

–––– ++++

+++++ –––––

–––– ++++

++++ ––––

–––––– ++++++

Silver–silver chloride electrode

Overshoot +35

n

Millivolts –90

o rizati Repola

De p olarizat io n

0

Resting 0

0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 Milliseconds

Figure 5-6  Typical action potential recorded by the method shown in the upper panel of the figure.

The upper panel of Figure 5-6 shows the changes that occur at the membrane during the action potential, with transfer of positive charges to the interior of the fiber at its onset and return of positive charges to the exterior at its end. The lower panel shows graphically the successive changes in membrane potential over a few 10,000ths of a second, illustrating the explosive onset of the action potential and the almost equally rapid recovery. The successive stages of the action potential are as follows.

Resting Stage.  This is the resting membrane potential before the action potential begins. The membrane is said to be “polarized” during this stage because of the −90 millivolts negative membrane potential that is present. Depolarization Stage.  At this time, the membrane suddenly becomes permeable to sodium ions, allowing tremendous numbers of positively charged sodium ions to diffuse to the interior of the axon. The normal “polarized” state of −90 millivolts is immediately neutralized by the inflowing positively charged sodium ions, with the potential rising rapidly in the positive direction. This is called depolarization. In large nerve fibers, the great excess of positive sodium ions moving to the inside causes the membrane potential to actually “overshoot” beyond the zero level and to become somewhat positive. In some smaller fibers, as well as in many central nervous system

Voltage-Gated Sodium and Potassium Channels The necessary actor in causing both depolarization and repolarization of the nerve membrane during the action potential is the voltage-gated sodium channel. A voltagegated potassium channel also plays an important role in increasing the rapidity of repolarization of the membrane. These two voltage-gated channels are in addition to the Na+-K+ pump and the K+ leak channels.

Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel—Activation and Inactivation of the Channel The upper panel of Figure 5-7 shows the voltage-gated sodium channel in three separate states. This channel has two gates—one near the outside of the channel called the activation gate, and another near the inside called the

Activation gate

Na+

Inactivation gate Resting (−90 mV)

Inside

Resting (−90 mV)

Na+

Selectivity filter

Activated (−90 to +35 mV)

K+

Na+

Inactivated (+35 to −90 mV, delayed)

K+ Slow activation (+35 to −90 mV)

Figure 5-7  Characteristics of the voltage-gated sodium (top) and potassium (bottom) channels, showing successive activation and inactivation of the sodium channels and delayed activation of the potassium channels when the membrane potential is changed from the normal resting negative value to a positive value.

61

U n i t II

I

KC

Repolarization Stage.  Within a few 10,000ths of a second after the membrane becomes highly permeable to sodium ions, the sodium channels begin to close and the potassium channels open more than normal. Then, rapid diffusion of potassium ions to the exterior re-establishes the normal negative resting membrane potential. This is called repolarization of the membrane. To explain more fully the factors that cause both depolarization and repolarization, we will describe the special characteristics of two other types of transport channels through the nerve membrane: the voltage-gated sodium and potassium channels.

Unit II  Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle

resting membrane potential within another few 10,000ths of a second. Research Method for Measuring the Effect of Voltage on Opening and Closing of the Voltage-Gated Channels—The “Voltage Clamp.”  The original research that led to quantitative understanding of the sodium and potassium channels was so ingenious that it led to Nobel Prizes for the scientists responsible, Hodgkin and Huxley. The essence of these studies is shown in Figures 5-8 and 5-9. Figure 5-8 shows an experimental apparatus called a voltage clamp, which is used to measure flow of ions through the different channels. In using this apparatus, two electrodes are inserted into the nerve fiber. One of these is to measure the voltage of the membrane potential, and the other is to conduct electrical current into or out of the nerve fiber. This apparatus is used in the following way: The investigator decides which voltage he or she wants to establish inside the nerve fiber. The electronic portion of the apparatus is then adjusted to the desired voltage, and this automatically injects either positive or negative electricity through the current electrode at whatever rate is required to hold the voltage, as measured by the voltage electrode, at the level set by the operator. When the membrane potential is suddenly increased by this voltage clamp from −90 millivolts to zero, the voltage-gated sodium and potassium channels open and sodium and potassium ions begin to pour through the ­channels. To counterbalance

Amplifier

Electrode in fluid Voltage electrode

Figure 5-8  “Voltage clamp” method for studying flow of ions through specific channels.

Na+ channel

30 20 10 0 –90 mV

K+ channel

a In

62

Conductance (mmho/cm2)

Voltage-Gated Potassium Channel and Its Activation The lower panel of Figure 5-7 shows the voltage-gated potassium channel in two states: during the resting state (left) and toward the end of the action potential (right). During the resting state, the gate of the potassium channel is closed and potassium ions are prevented from passing through this channel to the exterior. When the membrane potential rises from −90 millivolts toward zero, this voltage change causes a conformational opening of the gate and allows increased potassium diffusion outward through the channel. However, because of the slight delay in opening of the potassium channels, for the most part, they open just at the same time that the sodium channels are beginning to close because of inactivation. Thus, the decrease in sodium entry to the cell and the simultaneous increase in potassium exit from the cell combine to speed the repolarization process, leading to full recovery of the

Current electrode

Activation

inactivation gate. The upper left of the figure depicts the state of these two gates in the normal resting membrane when the membrane potential is −90 millivolts. In this state, the activation gate is closed, which prevents any entry of sodium ions to the interior of the fiber through these sodium channels. Activation of the Sodium Channel.  When the ­membrane potential becomes less negative than during the resting state, rising from −90 millivolts toward zero, it finally reaches a voltage—usually somewhere between −70 and −50 millivolts—that causes a sudden conformational change in the activation gate, flipping it all the way to the open position. This is called the activated state; during this state, sodium ions can pour inward through the channel, increasing the sodium permeability of the membrane as much as 500- to 5000-fold. Inactivation of the Sodium Channel.  The upper right panel of Figure 5-7 shows a third state of the sodium channel. The same increase in voltage that opens the activation gate also closes the inactivation gate. The ­inactivation gate, however, closes a few 10,000ths of a second after the activation gate opens. That is, the conformational change that flips the inactivation gate to the closed state is a slower process than the conformational change that opens the activation gate. Therefore, after the sodium channel has remained open for a few 10,000ths of a ­second, the inactivation gate closes, and sodium ions no longer can pour to the inside of the membrane. At this point, the membrane potential begins to recover back toward the resting membrane state, which is the repolarization process. Another important characteristic of the sodium channel inactivation process is that the inactivation gate will not reopen until the membrane potential returns to or near the original resting membrane potential level. Therefore, it is usually not possible for the sodium channels to open again without first repolarizing the nerve fiber.

ct

iva t io

n

+10 mV Membrane potential 0

1 2 Time (milliseconds)

–90 mV

3

Figure 5-9  Typical changes in conductance of sodium and potassium ion channels when the membrane potential is suddenly increased from the normal resting value of −90 millivolts to a positive value of +10 millivolts for 2 milliseconds. This figure shows that the sodium channels open (activate) and then close (inactivate) before the end of the 2 milliseconds, whereas the potassium channels only open (activate), and the rate of opening is much slower than that of the sodium channels.

Summary of the Events That Cause the Action Potential Figure 5-10 shows in summary form the sequential events that occur during and shortly after the action potential. The bottom of the figure shows the changes in membrane conductance for sodium and potassium ions. During the resting state, before the action potential begins, the conductance for potassium ions is 50 to 100 times as great as the conductance for sodium ions. This is caused by much greater leakage of potassium ions than sodium ions through the leak channels. However, at the onset of the action potential, the sodium channels instantaneously become activated and allow up to a 5000-fold increase in

+60 +40 +20

Overshoot Action potential

Na+ conductance K+ conductance

100

0

–20 –40 –60 –80 –100

10 1 Positive afterpotential

0.1

U n i t II

0.01 Ratio of conductances

0.001 100 10 Conductance (mmho/cm2)

the effect of these ion movements on the desired setting of the intracellular voltage, electrical current is injected automatically through the current electrode of the voltage clamp to maintain the intracellular voltage at the required steady zero level. To achieve this, the current injected must be equal to but of opposite polarity to the net current flow through the membrane channels. To measure how much current flow is occurring at each instant, the current electrode is connected to an oscilloscope that records the current flow, as demonstrated on the screen of the oscilloscope in Figure 5-8. Finally, the investigator adjusts the concentrations of the ions to other than normal levels both inside and outside the nerve fiber and repeats the study. This can be done easily when using large nerve fibers removed from some invertebrates, especially the giant squid axon, which in some cases is as large as 1 millimeter in diameter. When sodium is the only permeant ion in the solutions inside and outside the squid axon, the voltage clamp measures current flow only through the sodium channels. When potassium is the only permeant ion, current flow only through the potassium channels is measured. Another means for studying the flow of ions through an individual type of channel is to block one type of channel at a time. For instance, the sodium channels can be blocked by a toxin called tetrodotoxin by applying it to the outside of the cell membrane where the sodium activation gates are located. Conversely, tetraethylammonium ion blocks the potassium channels when it is applied to the interior of the nerve fiber. Figure 5-9 shows typical changes in conductance of the voltage-gated sodium and potassium channels when the membrane potential is suddenly changed by use of the voltage clamp from −90 millivolts to +10 millivolts and then, 2 milliseconds later, back to −90 millivolts. Note the sudden opening of the sodium channels (the activation stage) within a small fraction of a millisecond after the membrane potential is increased to the positive value. However, during the next millisecond or so, the sodium channels automatically close (the inactivation stage). Note the opening (activation) of the potassium channels. These open slowly and reach their full open state only after the sodium channels have almost completely closed. Further, once the potassium channels open, they remain open for the entire duration of the positive membrane potential and do not close again until after the membrane potential is decreased back to a negative value.

Membrane potential (mV)

Chapter 5  Membrane Potentials and Action Potentials

K+

1 0.1

Na+

0.01 0.005 0

0.5 1.0 Milliseconds

1.5

Figure 5-10  Changes in sodium and potassium conductance during the course of the action potential. Sodium conductance increases several thousand-fold during the early stages of the action potential, whereas potassium conductance increases only about 30-fold during the latter stages of the action potential and for a short period thereafter. (These curves were constructed from theory presented in papers by Hodgkin and Huxley but transposed from squid axon to apply to the membrane potentials of large mammalian nerve fibers.)

sodium conductance. Then the inactivation process closes the sodium channels within another fraction of a millisecond. The onset of the action potential also causes voltage gating of the potassium channels, causing them to begin opening more slowly a fraction of a millisecond after the sodium channels open. At the end of the action potential, the return of the membrane potential to the negative state causes the potassium channels to close back to their original status, but again, only after an additional millisecond or more delay. The middle portion of Figure 5-10 shows the ratio of sodium conductance to potassium conductance at each instant during the action potential, and above this is the action potential itself. During the early portion of the action potential, the ratio of sodium to potassium conductance increases more than 1000-fold. Therefore, far more sodium ions flow to the interior of the fiber than do potassium ions to the exterior. This is what causes the membrane potential to become positive at the action potential onset. Then the sodium channels begin to close and the potassium channels begin to open, so the ratio of conductance shifts far in favor of high potassium conductance but low sodium conductance. This allows very rapid loss of potassium ions to the exterior but virtually zero flow of sodium ions to the interior. Consequently, the action potential quickly returns to its baseline level. 63

Unit II  Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle

Roles of Other Ions During the Action Potential Thus far, we have considered only the roles of sodium and potassium ions in the generation of the action potential. At least two other types of ions must be considered: negative anions and calcium ions. Impermeant Negatively Charged Ions (Anions) Inside the Nerve Axon.  Inside the axon are many negatively charged ions that cannot go through the membrane channels. They include the anions of protein molecules and of many organic phosphate compounds, sulfate compounds, and so forth. Because these ions cannot leave the interior of the axon, any deficit of positive ions inside the membrane leaves an excess of these impermeant negative anions. Therefore, these impermeant negative ions are responsible for the negative charge inside the fiber when there is a net deficit of positively charged potassium ions and other positive ions. Calcium Ions.  The membranes of almost all cells of the body have a calcium pump similar to the sodium pump, and calcium serves along with (or instead of ) sodium in some cells to cause most of the action potential. Like the sodium pump, the calcium pump transports calcium ions from the interior to the exterior of the cell membrane (or into the endoplasmic reticulum of the cell), creating a calcium ion gradient of about 10,000-fold. This leaves an internal cell concentration of calcium ions of about 10−7 molar, in contrast to an external concentration of about 10−3 molar. In addition, there are voltage-gated calcium channels. Because calcium ion concentration is more than 10,000 times greater in the extracellular than the intracellular fluid, there is a tremendous diffusion gradient for passive flow of calcium ions into the cells. These channels are slightly permeable to sodium ions and calcium ions, but their permeability to calcium is about 1000-fold greater than to sodium under normal physiological conditions. When they open in response to a stimulus that depolarizes the cell membrane, calcium ions flow to the interior of the cell. A major function of the voltage-gated calcium ion channels is to contribute to the depolarizing phase on the action potential in some cells. The gating of calcium channels, however, is slow, requiring 10 to 20 times as long for activation as for the sodium channels. For this reason they are often called slow channels, in contrast to the sodium channels, which are called fast channels. Therefore, the opening of calcium channels provides a more sustained depolarization, whereas the sodium channels play a key role in initiating action potentials. Calcium channels are numerous in both cardiac muscle and smooth muscle. In fact, in some types of smooth muscle, the fast sodium channels are hardly present; therefore, the action potentials are caused almost entirely by activation of slow calcium channels. Increased Permeability of the Sodium Channels When There Is a Deficit of Calcium Ions.  The concentration of calcium ions in the extracellular fluid also has a profound effect on the voltage level at which the sodium channels become activated. When there is a deficit of calcium ions, the sodium channels become activated (opened) by a small increase of the membrane potential from its normal, very negative level. Therefore, the nerve fiber becomes highly excitable, sometimes discharging repetitively without ­provocation rather

64

than remaining in the resting state. In fact, the calcium ion concentration needs to fall only 50 percent below normal before spontaneous discharge occurs in some peripheral nerves, often causing muscle “tetany.” This is sometimes lethal because of tetanic contraction of the respiratory muscles. The probable way in which calcium ions affect the sodium channels is as follows: These ions appear to bind to the exterior surfaces of the sodium channel protein molecule. The positive charges of these calcium ions in turn alter the electrical state of the sodium channel protein itself, in this way altering the voltage level required to open the sodium gate.

Initiation of the Action Potential Up to this point, we have explained the changing sodium and potassium permeability of the membrane, as well as the development of the action potential itself, but we have not explained what initiates the action potential.

A Positive-Feedback Cycle Opens the Sodium Channels.  First, as long as the membrane of the nerve

fiber remains undisturbed, no action potential occurs in the normal nerve. However, if any event causes enough initial rise in the membrane potential from −90 millivolts toward the zero level, the rising voltage itself causes many voltage-gated sodium channels to begin opening. This allows rapid inflow of sodium ions, which causes a further rise in the membrane potential, thus opening still more voltage-gated sodium channels and allowing more streaming of sodium ions to the interior of the fiber. This process is a positive-feedback cycle that, once the feedback is strong enough, continues until all the voltagegated sodium channels have become activated (opened). Then, within another fraction of a millisecond, the rising membrane potential causes closure of the sodium channels and opening of potassium channels and the action potential soon terminates.

Threshold for Initiation of the Action Potential.  An action potential will not occur until the initial rise in membrane potential is great enough to create the positive feedback described in the preceding paragraph. This occurs when the number of Na+ ions entering the fiber becomes greater than the number of K+ ions leaving the fiber. A sudden rise in membrane potential of 15 to 30 millivolts is usually required. Therefore, a sudden increase in the membrane potential in a large nerve fiber from −90 millivolts up to about −65 millivolts usually causes the explosive development of an action potential. This level of −65 millivolts is said to be the threshold for stimulation.

Propagation of the Action Potential In the preceding paragraphs, we discussed the action potential as it occurs at one spot on the membrane. However, an action potential elicited at any one point on an excitable membrane usually excites adjacent portions of the membrane, resulting in propagation of the action

Chapter 5  Membrane Potentials and Action Potentials +++++++++++++++++++++++ –––––––––––––––––––––––

A

––––––––––––––––––––––– +++++++++++++++++++++++

B

––––––––––––++––––––––– ++++++++++++––+++++++++

++++++++++––––++++++++ ––––––––––++++––––––––

C

––––––––––++++–––––––– ++++++++++––––++++++++

++––––––––––––––––––++ ––++++++++++++++++++––

D

––++++++++++++++++++–– ++––––––––––––––––––++

Figure 5-11  Propagation of action potentials in both directions along a conductive fiber.

potential along the membrane. This mechanism is demonstrated in Figure 5-11. Figure 5-11A shows a normal resting nerve fiber, and Figure 5-11B shows a nerve fiber that has been excited in its midportion—that is, the midportion suddenly develops increased permeability to sodium. The arrows show a “local circuit” of current flow from the depolarized areas of the membrane to the adjacent resting membrane areas. That is, positive electrical charges are carried by the inward-diffusing sodium ions through the depolarized membrane and then for several millimeters in both directions along the core of the axon. These positive charges increase the voltage for a distance of 1 to 3 millimeters inside the large myelinated fiber to above the threshold voltage value for initiating an action potential. Therefore, the sodium channels in these new areas immediately open, as shown in Figure 5-11C and D, and the explosive action potential spreads. These newly depolarized areas produce still more local circuits of current flow farther along the membrane, causing progressively more and more depolarization. Thus, the depolarization process travels along the entire length of the fiber. This transmission of the depolarization process along a nerve or muscle fiber is called a nerve or muscle impulse.

Direction of Propagation.  As demonstrated in Figure 5-11, an excitable membrane has no single direction of propagation, but the action potential travels in all directions away from the stimulus—even along all branches of a nerve fiber—until the entire membrane has become depolarized.

Re-establishing Sodium and Potassium Ionic Gradients After Action Potentials Are Completed—Importance of Energy Metabolism The transmission of each action potential along a nerve fiber reduces slightly the concentration differences of sodium and potassium inside and outside the membrane because sodium ions diffuse to the inside during depolarization and potassium ions diffuse to the outside during repolarization. For a single action potential, this effect is so minute that it cannot be measured. Indeed, 100,000 to 50 million impulses can be transmitted by large nerve fibers before the concentration differences reach the point that action potential conduction ceases. Even so, with time, it becomes necessary to re-establish the sodium and potassium membrane concentration differences. This is achieved by action of the Na+-K+ pump in the same way as described previously in the chapter for the original establishment of the resting potential. That is, sodium ions that have diffused to the interior of the cell during the action potentials and potassium ions that have diffused to the exterior must be returned to their original state by the Na+-K+ pump. Because this pump requires energy for operation, this “recharging” of the nerve fiber is an active metabolic process, using energy derived from the adeno­ sine triphosphate (ATP) energy system of the cell. Figure 5-12 shows that the nerve fiber produces excess heat during recharging, which is a measure of energy expenditure when the nerve impulse frequency increases. A special feature of the Na+-K+ ATPase pump is that its degree of activity is strongly stimulated when excess sodium ions accumulate inside the cell membrane. In fact, the pumping activity increases approximately in proportion to the third power of this intracellular sodium concentration. That is, as the internal sodium concentration rises from 10 to 20 mEq/L, the activity of the pump does not merely double but increases about eightfold. Therefore, it is easy to understand how the “recharging” process of the nerve fiber can be set rapidly into motion whenever the concentration differences of sodium and potassium ions across the membrane begin to “run down.” 65

U n i t II

++++++++++++––+++++++++ ––––––––––––++–––––––––

All-or-Nothing Principle.  Once an action ­potential has been elicited at any point on the membrane of a ­normal fiber, the depolarization process travels over the entire membrane if conditions are right, or it does not travel at all if conditions are not right. This is called the all-or-nothing principle, and it applies to all normal excitable tissues. Occasionally, the action potential reaches a point on the membrane at which it does not generate sufficient voltage to stimulate the next area of the membrane. When this occurs, the spread of depolarization stops. Therefore, for continued propagation of an impulse to occur, the ratio of action potential to threshold for excitation must at all times be greater than 1. This “greater than 1” requirement is called the safety factor for propagation.

Unit II  Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle

Heat production

A second factor that may be partly responsible for the plateau is that the voltage-gated potassium channels are slower than usual to open, often not opening much until the end of the plateau. This delays the return of the membrane potential toward its normal negative value of −80 to −90 millivolts.

At rest 0

100

200

300

Impulses per second

Figure 5-12  Heat production in a nerve fiber at rest and at ­progressively increasing rates of stimulation.

Plateau in Some Action Potentials In some instances, the excited membrane does not repolarize immediately after depolarization; instead, the potential remains on a plateau near the peak of the spike potential for many milliseconds, and only then does repolarization begin. Such a plateau is shown in Figure 5-13; one can readily see that the plateau greatly prolongs the period of depolarization. This type of action potential occurs in heart muscle fibers, where the plateau lasts for as long as 0.2 to 0.3 second and causes contraction of heart muscle to last for this same long period. The cause of the plateau is a combination of several factors. First, in heart muscle, two types of channels enter into the depolarization process: (1) the usual voltage-activated sodium channels, called fast channels, and (2) voltage-activated calcium-sodium channels, which are slow to open and therefore are called slow channels. Opening of fast channels causes the spike portion of the action potential, whereas the prolonged opening of the slow calcium-sodium channels mainly allows calcium ions to enter the fiber, which is largely responsible for the plateau portion of the action potential as well. +60 +40

Rhythmicity of Some Excitable Tissues— Repetitive Discharge Repetitive self-induced discharges occur normally in the heart, in most smooth muscle, and in many of the neurons of the central nervous system. These rhythmical discharges cause (1) the rhythmical beat of the heart, (2) rhythmical peristalsis of the intestines, and (3) such neuronal events as the rhythmical control of breathing. Also, almost all other excitable tissues can discharge repetitively if the threshold for stimulation of the ­tissue cells is reduced low enough. For instance, even large nerve fibers and skeletal muscle fibers, which normally are highly stable, discharge repetitively when they are placed in a solution that contains the drug veratrine or when the calcium ion concentration falls below a critical value, both of which increase sodium permeability of the membrane.

Re-excitation Process Necessary for Sponta­ neous Rhythmicity.  For spontaneous rhythmicity to

occur, the membrane even in its natural state must be permeable enough to sodium ions (or to calcium and sodium ions through the slow calcium-sodium channels) to allow automatic membrane depolarization. Thus, Figure 5-14 shows that the “resting” membrane potential in the rhythmical control center of the heart is only −60 to −70 millivolts. This is not enough negative voltage to keep the sodium and calcium channels totally closed. Therefore, the following sequence occurs: (1) some sodium and ­calcium ions flow inward; (2) this increases the membrane voltage in the positive direction, which further increases membrane permeability; (3) still more ions flow inward;

Plateau

+60 +40 Millivolts

Millivolts

+20 0 –20 –40 –60

+20 0 –20 –40 –60

–80

0

–100 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 Seconds

Figure 5-13  Action potential (in millivolts) from a Purkinje fiber of the heart, showing a “plateau.”

66

Rhythmical action Potassium conductance potentials Threshold

1

Hyperpolarization

2 Seconds

3

Figure 5-14  Rhythmical action potentials (in millivolts) similar to those recorded in the rhythmical control center of the heart. Note their relationship to potassium conductance and to the state of hyperpolarization.

Chapter 5  Membrane Potentials and Action Potentials

U n i t II

and (4) the permeability increases more, and so on, until an action potential is generated. Then, at the end of the action potential, the membrane repolarizes. After another delay of milliseconds or seconds, spontaneous excitability causes depolarization again and a new action potential occurs spontaneously. This cycle continues over and over and causes self-induced rhythmical excitation of the excitable tissue. Why does the membrane of the heart control center not depolarize immediately after it has become repolarized, rather than delaying for nearly a second before the onset of the next action potential? The answer can be found by observing the curve labeled “potassium conductance” in Figure 5-14. This shows that toward the end of each action potential, and continuing for a short period thereafter, the membrane becomes more permeable to potassium ions. The increased outflow of potassium ions carries tremendous numbers of positive charges to the outside of the membrane, leaving inside the fiber considerably more negativity than would otherwise occur. This continues for nearly a second after the preceding action potential is over, thus drawing the membrane potential nearer to the potassium Nernst potential. This is a state called hyperpolarization, also shown in Figure 5-14. As long as this state exists, self-re-excitation will not occur. But the increased potassium conductance (and the state of hyperpolarization) gradually disappears, as shown after each action potential is completed in the figure, thereby allowing the membrane potential again to increase up to the threshold for excitation. Then, suddenly, a new action potential results and the process occurs again and again.

Figure 5-15  Cross section of a small nerve trunk containing both myelinated and unmyelinated fibers.

Axon Myelin sheath Schwann cell cytoplasm Schwann cell nucleus

Special Characteristics of Signal Transmission in Nerve Trunks Myelinated and Unmyelinated Nerve Fibers.  Figure 5-15 shows a cross section of a typical small nerve, revealing many large nerve fibers that constitute most of the cross-sectional area. However, a more careful look reveals many more small fibers lying between the large ones. The large fibers are myelinated, and the small ones are unmyelinated. The average nerve trunk contains about twice as many unmyelinated fibers as myelinated fibers. Figure 5-16 shows a typical myelinated fiber. The central core of the fiber is the axon, and the membrane of the axon is the membrane that actually conducts the action potential. The axon is filled in its center with axoplasm, which is a viscid intracellular fluid. Surrounding the axon is a myelin sheath that is often much thicker than the axon itself. About once every 1 to 3 millimeters along the length of the myelin sheath is a node of Ranvier. The myelin sheath is deposited around the axon by Schwann cells in the following manner: The membrane of a Schwann cell first envelops the axon. Then the Schwann cell rotates around the axon many times, laying down multiple layers of Schwann cell membrane containing the lipid substance sphingomyelin. This substance is an excellent electrical insulator that decreases ion flow through the membrane about 5000-fold. At the juncture between each two successive

Node of Ranvier

A

Unmyelinated axons Schwann cell nucleus Schwann cell cytoplasm

B Figure 5-16  Function of the Schwann cell to insulate nerve fibers. A, Wrapping of a Schwann cell membrane around a large axon to form the myelin sheath of the myelinated nerve fiber. B, Partial wrapping of the membrane and cytoplasm of a Schwann cell around multiple unmyelinated nerve fibers (shown in cross section). (A, Modified from Leeson TS, Leeson R: Histology. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1979.) Schwann cells along the axon, a small uninsulated area only 2 to 3 micrometers in length remains where ions still can flow with ease through the axon membrane between the extracellular fluid and the intracellular fluid inside the axon. This area is called the node of Ranvier.

67

Unit II  Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle

1

Axoplasm

2

Node of Ranvier

3

Figure 5-17  Saltatory conduction along a myelinated axon. Flow of electrical current from node to node is illustrated by the arrows. “Saltatory” Conduction in Myelinated Fibers from Node to Node.  Even though almost no ions can flow through the thick myelin sheaths of myelinated nerves, they can flow with ease through the nodes of Ranvier. Therefore, action potentials occur only at the nodes. Yet the action potentials are conducted from node to node, as shown in Figure 5-17; this is called saltatory conduction. That is, electrical current flows through the surrounding extracellular fluid outside the myelin sheath, as well as through the axoplasm inside the axon from node to node, exciting successive nodes one after another. Thus, the nerve impulse jumps along the fiber, which is the origin of the term “saltatory.” Saltatory conduction is of value for two reasons. First, by causing the depolarization process to jump long intervals along the axis of the nerve fiber, this mechanism increases the velocity of nerve transmission in myelinated fibers as much as 5- to 50-fold. Second, saltatory conduction conserves energy for the axon because only the nodes depolarize, allowing perhaps 100 times less loss of ions than would otherwise be necessary, and therefore requiring little metabolism for re-establishing the sodium and potassium concentration differences across the membrane after a series of nerve impulses. Still another feature of saltatory conduction in large myelinated fibers is the following: The excellent insulation afforded by the myelin membrane and the 50-fold decrease in membrane capacitance allow repolarization to occur with little transfer of ions. Velocity of Conduction in Nerve Fibers.  The velocity of action potential conduction in nerve fibers varies from as ­little as 0.25 m/sec in small unmyelinated fibers to as great as 100 m/sec (the length of a football field in 1 second) in large myelinated fibers.

Excitation—The Process of Eliciting the Action Potential Basically, any factor that causes sodium ions to begin to diffuse inward through the membrane in sufficient numbers can set off automatic regenerative opening of the sodium channels. This can result from mechanical disturbance of the membrane, chemical effects on the membrane, or ­passage of electricity through the membrane. All these are used at different points in the body to elicit nerve or muscle

68

action potentials: mechanical pressure to excite sensory nerve ­endings in the skin, chemical neurotransmitters to transmit signals from one neuron to the next in the brain, and electrical current to transmit signals between successive muscle cells in the heart and intestine. For the purpose of understanding the excitation process, let us begin by discussing the principles of electrical stimulation. Excitation of a Nerve Fiber by a Negatively Charged Metal Electrode.  The usual means for exciting a nerve or muscle in the experimental laboratory is to apply electricity to the nerve or muscle surface through two small electrodes, one of which is negatively charged and the other positively charged. When this is done, the excitable membrane becomes stimulated at the negative electrode. The cause of this effect is the following: Remember that the action potential is initiated by the opening of voltagegated sodium channels. Further, these channels are opened by a decrease in the normal resting electrical voltage across the membrane. That is, negative current from the electrode decreases the voltage on the outside of the membrane to a negative value nearer to the voltage of the negative potential inside the fiber. This decreases the electrical voltage across the membrane and allows the sodium channels to open, resulting in an action potential. Conversely, at the positive electrode, the injection of positive charges on the outside of the nerve membrane heightens the voltage difference across the membrane rather than lessening it. This causes a state of hyperpolarization, which actually decreases the excitability of the fiber rather than causing an action potential. Threshold for Excitation, and “Acute Local Potentials.”  A weak negative electrical stimulus may not be able to excite a fiber. However, when the voltage of the stimulus is increased, there comes a point at which excitation does take place. Figure 5-18 shows the effects of successively applied stimuli of progressing strength. A weak stimulus at point A causes the membrane potential to change from −90 to −85 millivolts, but this is not a sufficient change for the automatic regenerative processes of the action potential to develop. At point B, the stimulus is greater, but again, the intensity is still not enough. The stimulus does, however, disturb the membrane potential locally for as long as 1 millisecond or more after both of these weak stimuli. These local potential changes are called acute local potentials, and when they fail to elicit an action potential, they are called acute subthreshold potentials. +60

Action potentials

+40 +20 Millivolts

Myelin sheath

0 -20 -40

Acute subthreshold potentials Threshold

-60 A 0

B 1

C 2 3 Milliseconds

D 4

Figure 5-18  Effect of stimuli of increasing voltages to elicit an action potential. Note development of “acute subthreshold potentials” when the stimuli are below the threshold value required for eliciting an action potential.

Chapter 5  Membrane Potentials and Action Potentials

“Refractory Period” After an Action Potential, During Which a New Stimulus Cannot Be Elicited A new action potential cannot occur in an excitable fiber as long as the membrane is still depolarized from the preceding action potential. The reason for this is that shortly after the action potential is initiated, the sodium channels (or ­calcium channels, or both) become inactivated and no amount of excitatory signal applied to these channels at this point will open the inactivation gates. The only condition that will allow them to reopen is for the membrane potential to return to or near the original resting membrane potential level. Then, within another small fraction of a second, the inactivation gates of the channels open and a new action potential can be initiated. The period during which a second action potential cannot be elicited, even with a strong stimulus, is called the absolute refractory period. This period for large myelinated nerve fibers is about 1/2500 second. Therefore, one can readily calculate that such a fiber can transmit a maximum of about 2500 impulses per second. Inhibition of Excitability—“Stabilizers” and Local Anesthetics In contrast to the factors that increase nerve excitability, still others, called membrane-stabilizing factors, can decrease excitability. For instance, a high extracellular fluid calcium ion concentration decreases membrane permeability to sodium ions and simultaneously reduces excitability. Therefore, calcium ions are said to be a “stabilizer.” Local Anesthetics.  Among the most important stabilizers are the many substances used clinically as local anesthetics, including procaine and tetracaine. Most of these act directly on the activation gates of the sodium channels, making it much more difficult for these gates to open, thereby reducing membrane excitability. When excitability has been reduced so low that the ratio of action potential strength to excitability threshold (called the “safety factor”) is reduced below 1.0, nerve impulses fail to pass along the anesthetized nerves.

Recording Membrane Potentials and Action Potentials Cathode Ray Oscilloscope.  Earlier in this chapter, we noted that the membrane potential changes extremely rapidly during the course of an action potential. Indeed, most of the action potential complex of large nerve fibers takes place in less than 1/1000 second. In some figures of this chapter, an electrical meter has been shown recording these potential changes. However, it must be understood that any meter capable of recording most action potentials must be capable

Recorded action potential

Horizontal plates

Electron gun

Electron beam

Stimulus artifact

Plugs Vertical plates

Electronic sweep circuit

Electronic amplifier

Electrical stimulator Nerve

Figure 5-19  Cathode ray oscilloscope for recording transient action potentials. of responding extremely rapidly. For practical purposes, the only common type of meter that is capable of responding accurately to the rapid membrane potential changes is the cathode ray oscilloscope. Figure 5-19 shows the basic components of a cathode ray oscilloscope. The cathode ray tube itself is composed basically of an electron gun and a fluorescent screen against which electrons are fired. Where the electrons hit the screen ­surface, the fluorescent material glows. If the electron beam is moved across the screen, the spot of glowing light also moves and draws a fluorescent line on the screen. In addition to the electron gun and fluorescent surface, the cathode ray tube is provided with two sets of electrically charged plates—one set positioned on the two sides of the electron beam, and the other set positioned above and below. Appropriate electronic control circuits change the voltage on these plates so that the electron beam can be bent up or down in response to electrical signals coming from recording electrodes on nerves. The beam of electrons also is swept horizontally across the screen at a constant time rate by an internal electronic circuit of the oscilloscope. This gives the record shown on the face of the cathode ray tube in the figure, giving a time base horizontally and voltage changes from the nerve electrodes shown vertically. Note at the left end of the record a small stimulus artifact caused by the electrical stimulus used to elicit the nerve action potential. Then further to the right is the recorded action potential itself.

Bibliography Alberts B, Johnson A, Lewis J, et al: Molecular Biology of the Cell, ed 3, New York, 2008, Garland Science. Biel M, Wahl-Schott C, Michalakis S, Zong X: Hyperpolarization-activated cation channels: from genes to function, Physiol Rev 89:847, 2009. Blaesse P, Airaksinen MS, Rivera C, Kaila K: Cation-chloride cotransporters and neuronal function, Neuron 61:820, 2009. Dai S, Hall DD, Hell JW: Supramolecular assemblies and localized regulation of voltage-gated ion channels, Physiol Rev 89:411, 2009. Hodgkin AL, Huxley AF: Quantitative description of membrane current and its application to conduction and excitation in nerve, J Physiol (Lond) 117:500, 1952. Kandel ER, Schwartz JH, Jessell TM: Principles of Neural Science, ed 4, New York, 2000, McGraw-Hill.

69

U n i t II

At point C in Figure 5-18, the stimulus is even stronger. Now the local potential has barely reached the level required to elicit an action potential, called the threshold level, but this occurs only after a short “latent period.” At point D, the stimulus is still stronger, the acute local potential is also stronger, and the action potential occurs after less of a latent period. Thus, this figure shows that even a weak stimulus causes a local potential change at the membrane, but the intensity of the local potential must rise to a threshold level before the action potential is set off.

Unit II  Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle Kleber AG, Rudy Y: Basic mechanisms of cardiac impulse propagation and associated arrhythmias, Physiol Rev 84:431, 2004. Luján R, Maylie J, Adelman JP: New sites of action for GIRK and SK channels, Nat Rev Neurosci 10:475, 2009. Mangoni ME, Nargeot J: Genesis and regulation of the heart automaticity, Physiol Rev 88:919, 2008. Perez-Reyes E: Molecular physiology of low-voltage-activated T-type ­calcium channels, Physiol Rev 83:117, 2003.

70

Poliak S, Peles E: The local differentiation of myelinated axons at nodes of Ranvier, Nat Rev Neurosci 12:968, 2003. Schafer DP, Rasband MN: Glial regulation of the axonal membrane at nodes of Ranvier, Curr Opin Neurobiol 16:508, 2006. Vacher H, Mohapatra DP, Trimmer JS: Localization and targeting of ­voltage-dependent ion channels in mammalian central neurons, Physiol Rev 88:1407, 2008.

chapter 6

About 40 percent of the body is skeletal muscle, and perhaps another 10 percent is smooth and cardiac muscle. Some of the same basic principles of contraction apply to all three different types of muscle. In this chapter, function of skeletal muscle is considered mainly; the specialized functions of smooth muscle are discussed in Chapter 8, and cardiac muscle is discussed in Chapter 9.

Physiologic Anatomy of Skeletal Muscle Skeletal Muscle Fiber Figure 6-1 shows the organization of skeletal muscle, demonstrating that all skeletal muscles are composed of numerous fibers ranging from 10 to 80 micrometers in diameter. Each of these fibers is made up of successively smaller subunits, also shown in Figure 6-1 and described in subsequent paragraphs. In most skeletal muscles, each fiber extends the entire length of the muscle. Except for about 2 percent of the fibers, each fiber is usually innervated by only one nerve ending, located near the middle of the fiber.

The Sarcolemma Is a Thin Membrane Enclosing a Skeletal Muscle Fiber.  The sarcolemma consists of a true cell membrane, called the plasma membrane, and an outer coat made up of a thin layer of polysaccharide material that contains numerous thin collagen fibrils. At each end of the muscle fiber, this surface layer of the sarcolemma fuses with a tendon fiber. The tendon fibers in turn collect into bundles to form the muscle tendons that then insert into the bones.

Myofibrils Are Composed of Actin and Myosin Filaments.  Each muscle fiber contains several hundred

to several thousand myofibrils, which are demonstrated by the many small open dots in the cross-sectional view of Figure 6-1C. Each myofibril (Figure 6-1D and E) is composed of about 1500 adjacent myosin filaments and

3000 actin filaments, which are large polymerized protein molecules that are responsible for the actual muscle contraction. These can be seen in longitudinal view in the electron micrograph of Figure 6-2 and are represented diagrammatically in Figure 6-1, parts E through L. The thick filaments in the diagrams are myosin, and the thin filaments are actin. Note in Figure 6-1E that the myosin and actin filaments partially interdigitate and thus cause the myofibrils to have alternate light and dark bands, as illustrated in Figure 6-2. The light bands contain only actin filaments and are called I bands because they are isotropic to polarized light. The dark bands contain myosin filaments, as well as the ends of the actin filaments where they overlap the myosin, and are called A bands because they are anisotropic to polarized light. Note also the small projections from the sides of the myosin filaments in Figure 6-1E and L. These are cross-bridges. It is the interaction between these cross-bridges and the actin filaments that causes contraction. Figure 6-1E also shows that the ends of the actin filaments are attached to a so-called Z disc. From this disc, these filaments extend in both directions to interdigitate with the myosin filaments. The Z disc, which itself is composed of filamentous proteins different from the actin and myosin filaments, passes crosswise across the myofibril and also crosswise from myofibril to myofibril, attaching the myofibrils to one another all the way across the muscle fiber. Therefore, the entire muscle fiber has light and dark bands, as do the individual myofibrils. These bands give skeletal and cardiac muscle their striated appearance. The portion of the myofibril (or of the whole muscle fiber) that lies between two successive Z discs is called a sarcomere. When the muscle fiber is contracted, as shown at the bottom of Figure 6-5, the length of the sarcomere is about 2 micrometers. At this length, the actin filaments completely overlap the myosin filaments, and the tips of the actin filaments are just beginning to overlap one another. As discussed later, at this length the muscle is capable of generating its greatest force of contraction.

71

U n i t II

Contraction of Skeletal Muscle

Unit II  Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle SKELETAL MUSCLE

A

Muscle

B

C

Muscle fasciculus

Z disc

A band

I band Myofibril Muscle fiber Z disc

D

A band

I band

H band Sarcomere

Z

E

Z

G-Actin molecules

H

J Myofilaments F-Actin filament

K L Myosin filament Myosin molecule

F

G

H

M N

I Light meromyosin

Heavy meromyosin

Figure 6-1  Organization of skeletal muscle, from the gross to the molecular level. F, G, H, and I are cross sections at the levels indicated.

72

Chapter 6  Contraction of Skeletal Muscle

Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Is a Specialized Endoplasmic Reticulum of Skeletal Muscle.  Also in

Figure 6-2  Electron micrograph of muscle myofibrils showing the detailed organization of actin and myosin filaments. Note the mitochondria lying between the myofibrils. (From Fawcett DW: The Cell. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1981.)

Titin Filamentous Molecules Keep the Myosin and Actin Filaments in Place.  The side-by-side relation-

ship between the myosin and actin filaments is difficult to maintain. This is achieved by a large number of filamentous molecules of a protein called titin (Figure 6-3). Each titin molecule has a molecular weight of about 3 million, which makes it one of the largest protein molecules in the body. Also, because it is filamentous, it is very springy. These springy titin molecules act as a framework that holds the myosin and actin filaments in place so that the contractile machinery of the sarcomere will work. One end of the titin molecule is elastic and is attached to the Z disk, acting as a spring and changing length as the sarcomere contracts and relaxes. The other part of the titin molecule tethers it to the myosin thick filament. The titin molecule itself also appears to act as a template for initial formation of portions of the contractile filaments of the sarcomere, especially the myosin filaments.

the sarcoplasm surrounding the myofibrils of each muscle fiber is an extensive reticulum (Figure 6-4), called the sarcoplasmic reticulum. This reticulum has a special organization that is extremely important in controlling muscle contraction, as discussed in Chapter 7. The rapidly contracting types of muscle fibers have especially extensive sarcoplasmic reticula.

General Mechanism of Muscle Contraction The initiation and execution of muscle contraction occur in the following sequential steps. 1. An action potential travels along a motor nerve to its endings on muscle fibers. 2. At each ending, the nerve secretes a small amount of the neurotransmitter substance acetylcholine. 3. The acetylcholine acts on a local area of the muscle fiber membrane to open multiple “acetylcholine-gated” cation channels through protein molecules floating in the membrane. 4. Opening of the acetylcholine-gated channels allows large quantities of sodium ions to diffuse to the interior of the muscle fiber membrane. This causes a local depolarization that in turn leads to opening of

Sarcoplasm Is the Intracellular Fluid Between Myofibrils.  The many myofibrils of each muscle fiber are suspended side by side in the muscle fiber. The spaces between the myofibrils are filled with intracellular fluid

Myosin (thick filament)

Actin (thin filament)

M line

Titin

Z disc

Figure 6-3  Organization of proteins in a sarcomere. Each titin molecule extends from the Z disc to the M line. Part of the titin molecule is closely associated with the myosin thick filament, whereas the rest of the molecule is springy and changes length as the sarcomere contracts and relaxes.

Figure 6-4  Sarcoplasmic reticulum in the extracellular spaces between the myofibrils, showing a longitudinal system paralleling the myofibrils. Also shown in cross section are T tubules (arrows) that lead to the exterior of the fiber membrane and are important for conducting the electrical signal into the center of the muscle fiber. (From Fawcett DW: The Cell. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1981.)

73

U n i t II

called sarcoplasm, containing large quantities of potassium, magnesium, and phosphate, plus multiple protein enzymes. Also present are tremendous numbers of mitochondria that lie parallel to the myofibrils. These supply the contracting myofibrils with large amounts of energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) formed by the mitochondria.

Unit II  Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle

v­ oltage-gated sodium channels. This initiates an action potential at the membrane. 5. The action potential travels along the muscle fiber membrane in the same way that action potentials travel along nerve fiber membranes. 6. The action potential depolarizes the muscle membrane, and much of the action potential electricity flows through the center of the muscle fiber. Here it causes the sarcoplasmic reticulum to release large quantities of calcium ions that have been stored within this reticulum. 7. The calcium ions initiate attractive forces between the actin and myosin filaments, causing them to slide alongside each other, which is the contractile process. 8. After a fraction of a second, the calcium ions are pumped back into the sarcoplasmic reticulum by a Ca++ membrane pump and remain stored in the reticulum until a new muscle action potential comes along; this removal of calcium ions from the myofibrils causes the muscle contraction to cease. We now describe the molecular machinery of the muscle contractile process.

Molecular Mechanism of Muscle Contraction Sliding Filament Mechanism of Muscle Con­ t­raction.  Figure 6-5 demonstrates the basic mecha-

nism of muscle contraction. It shows the relaxed state of a sarcomere (top) and the contracted state (bottom). In the relaxed state, the ends of the actin filaments extending from two successive Z discs barely begin to overlap one another. Conversely, in the contracted state, these actin filaments have been pulled inward among the myosin filaments, so their ends overlap one another to their I

A

­ aximum extent. Also, the Z discs have been pulled by m the actin filaments up to the ends of the myosin filaments. Thus, muscle contraction occurs by a sliding filament mechanism. But what causes the actin filaments to slide inward among the myosin filaments? This is caused by forces generated by interaction of the cross-bridges from the myosin filaments with the actin filaments. Under resting conditions, these forces are inactive. But when an action potential travels along the muscle fiber, this causes the sarcoplasmic reticulum to release large quantities of calcium ions that rapidly surround the myofibrils. The calcium ions in turn activate the forces between the myosin and actin filaments, and contraction begins. But energy is needed for the contractile process to proceed. This energy comes from high-energy bonds in the ATP molecule, which is degraded to adenosine diphosphate (ADP) to liberate the energy. In the next few sections, we describe what is known about the details of these molecular processes of contraction.

Molecular Characteristics of the Contractile Filaments Myosin Filaments Are Composed of Multiple Myosin Molecules.  Each of the myosin molecules, shown

in Figure 6-6A, has a molecular weight of about 480,000. Figure 6-6B shows the organization of many molecules to form a myosin filament, as well as interaction of this ­filament on one side with the ends of two actin filaments. The myosin molecule (see Figure 6-6A) is composed of six polypeptide chains—two heavy chains, each with a molecular weight of about 200,000, and four light chains with molecular weights of about 20,000 each. The two heavy chains wrap spirally around each other to form a double Head Tail

I

Z

Z Two heavy chains

A

Light chains

Relaxed I

A

Z

Actin filaments I Z

Cross-bridges Contracted

Figure 6-5  Relaxed and contracted states of a myofibril showing (top) sliding of the actin filaments (pink) into the spaces between the myosin filaments (red) and (bottom) pulling of the Z membranes toward each other.

74

B

Hinges

Body

Myosin filament

Figure 6-6  A, Myosin molecule. B, Combination of many myosin molecules to form a myosin filament. Also shown are thousands of myosin cross-bridges and interaction between the heads of the cross-bridges with adjacent actin filaments.

Chapter 6  Contraction of Skeletal Muscle

ATPase Activity of the Myosin Head.  Another feature of the myosin head that is essential for muscle contraction is that it functions as an ATPase enzyme. As explained later, this property allows the head to cleave ATP and use the energy derived from the ATP’s high-energy phosphate bond to energize the contraction process. Actin Filaments Are Composed of Actin, Tropomyosin, and Troponin.  The backbone of the actin

filament is a double-stranded F-actin protein molecule, represented by the two lighter-colored strands in Figure 6-7. The two strands are wound in a helix in the same manner as the myosin molecule. Each strand of the double F-actin helix is composed of polymerized G-actin molecules, each having a molecular weight of about 42,000. Attached to each one of the G-actin molecules is one molecule of ADP. It is believed that these ADP molecules are the active sites on the actin filaments with which the cross-bridges of the myosin filaments interact to cause muscle contraction. The active sites on the two F-actin strands of the double helix are staggered, giving one active site on the overall actin filament about every 2.7 nanometers.

Active sites

F-actin

Troponin complex

Tropomyosin

Figure 6-7  Actin filament, composed of two helical strands of F-actin molecules and two strands of tropomyosin molecules that fit in the grooves between the actin strands. Attached to one end of each tropomyosin molecule is a troponin complex that initiates contraction.

Each actin filament is about 1 micrometer long. The bases of the actin filaments are inserted strongly into the Z discs; the ends of the filaments protrude in both directions to lie in the spaces between the myosin molecules, as shown in Figure 6-5.

Tropomyosin Molecules.  The actin filament also contains another protein, tropomyosin. Each molecule of tropomyosin has a molecular weight of 70,000 and a length of 40 nanometers. These molecules are wrapped spirally around the sides of the F-actin helix. In the resting state, the tropomyosin molecules lie on top of the active sites of the actin strands so that attraction cannot occur between the actin and myosin filaments to cause contraction. Troponin and Its Role in Muscle ­Contra­ct­ ion.  Attached intermittently along the sides of the tropomyosin molecules are still other protein molecules called troponin. These are actually complexes of three loosely bound protein subunits, each of which plays a specific role in controlling muscle contraction. One of the subunits (troponin I) has a strong affinity for actin, another (troponin T) for tropomyosin, and a third (troponin C) for calcium ions. This complex is believed to attach the tropomyosin to the actin. The strong affinity of the troponin for calcium ions is believed to initiate the contraction process, as explained in the next section. Interaction of One Myosin Filament, Two Actin Filaments, and Calcium Ions to Cause Contraction Inhibition of the Actin Filament by the TroponinTropomyosin Complex; Activation by Calcium Ions.  A pure actin filament without the presence of the troponin-tropomyosin complex (but in the presence of magnesium ions and ATP) binds instantly and strongly with the heads of the myosin molecules. Then, if the troponin-tropomyosin complex is added to the actin filament, the binding between myosin and actin does not take place. Therefore, it is believed that the active sites on the normal actin filament of the relaxed muscle are inhibited or physically covered by the troponin-tropomyosin complex. Consequently, the sites cannot attach to the heads of the myosin filaments to cause contraction. Before contraction can take place, the inhibitory effect of the ­troponin-tropomyosin complex must itself be inhibited. 75

U n i t II

helix, which is called the tail of the myosin molecule. One end of each of these chains is folded bilaterally into a globular polypeptide structure called a myosin head. Thus, there are two free heads at one end of the double-helix myosin molecule. The four light chains are also part of the myosin head, two to each head. These light chains help control the function of the head during muscle contraction. The myosin filament is made up of 200 or more individual myosin molecules. The central portion of one of these filaments is shown in Figure 6-6B, displaying the tails of the myosin molecules bundled together to form the body of the filament, while many heads of the molecules hang outward to the sides of the body. Also, part of the body of each myosin molecule hangs to the side along with the head, thus providing an arm that extends the head outward from the body, as shown in the figure. The protruding arms and heads together are called cross-bridges. Each cross-bridge is flexible at two points called hinges—one where the arm leaves the body of the myosin filament, and the other where the head attaches to the arm. The hinged arms allow the heads to be either extended far outward from the body of the myosin filament or brought close to the body. The hinged heads in turn participate in the actual contraction process, as discussed in the following sections. The total length of each myosin filament is uniform, almost exactly 1.6 micrometers. Note, however, that there are no cross-bridge heads in the center of the myosin filament for a distance of about 0.2 micrometer because the hinged arms extend away from the center. Now, to complete the picture, the myosin filament itself is twisted so that each successive pair of cross-bridges is axially displaced from the previous pair by 120 degrees. This ensures that the cross-bridges extend in all directions around the filament.

Unit II  Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle

This brings us to the role of the calcium ions. In the presence of large amounts of calcium ions, the inhibitory effect of the troponin-tropomyosin on the actin filaments is itself inhibited. The mechanism of this is not known, but one suggestion is the following: When calcium ions combine with troponin C, each molecule of which can bind strongly with up to four calcium ions, the troponin complex supposedly undergoes a conformational change that in some way tugs on the tropomyosin molecule and moves it deeper into the groove between the two actin strands. This “uncovers” the active sites of the actin, thus allowing these to attract the myosin cross-bridge heads and cause contraction to proceed. Although this is a hypothetical mechanism, it does emphasize that the normal relation between the troponin-tropomyosin complex and actin is altered by calcium ions, producing a new condition that leads to contraction. Interaction Between the “Activated” Actin Filament and the Myosin Cross-Bridges—The “Walk-Along” Theory of Contraction.  As soon as the actin filament becomes activated by the calcium ions, the heads of the cross-bridges from the myosin filaments become attracted to the active sites of the actin filament, and this, in some way, causes contraction to occur. Although the precise manner by which this interaction between the cross-bridges and the actin causes contraction is still partly theoretical, one hypothesis for which considerable evidence exists is the “walk-along” theory (or “ratchet” theory) of contraction. Figure 6-8 demonstrates this postulated walk-along mechanism for contraction. The figure shows the heads of two cross-bridges attaching to and disengaging from active sites of an actin filament. It is postulated that when a head attaches to an active site, this attachment simultaneously causes profound changes in the intramolecular forces between the head and arm of its cross-bridge. The new alignment of forces causes the head to tilt toward the arm and to drag the actin filament along with it. This tilt of the head is called the power stroke. Then, immediately after tilting, the head automatically breaks away from the active site. Next, the head returns to its extended direction. In this position, it combines with a new active site farther down along the actin filament; then the head tilts again to cause a new power stroke, and the actin filament moves another step. Thus, the heads of the cross-bridges bend back and forth and step by step walk along the actin filament, pulling the ends of two successive actin filaments toward the center of the myosin filament. Each one of the cross-bridges is believed to operate independently of all others, each attaching and pulling in a continuous repeated cycle. Therefore, the greater the number of cross-bridges in contact with the actin filament at any given time, the greater the force of contraction. ATP as the Source of Energy for Contraction— Chemical Events in the Motion of the Myosin Heads.  When a muscle contracts, work is performed and energy is required. Large amounts of ATP are cleaved to form ADP during the contraction process; the greater the 76

amount of work performed by the muscle, the greater the amount of ATP that is cleaved, which is called the Fenn effect. The following sequence of events is believed to be the means by which this occurs: 1. Before contraction begins, the heads of the crossbridges bind with ATP. The ATPase activity of the myosin head immediately cleaves the ATP but leaves the cleavage products, ADP plus phosphate ion, bound to the head. In this state, the conformation of the head is such that it extends perpendicularly toward the actin filament but is not yet attached to the actin. 2. When the troponin-tropomyosin complex binds with calcium ions, active sites on the actin filament are uncovered and the myosin heads then bind with these, as shown in Figure 6-8. 3. The bond between the head of the cross-bridge and the active site of the actin filament causes a conformational change in the head, prompting the head to tilt toward the arm of the cross-bridge. This provides the power stroke for pulling the actin filament. The energy that activates the power stroke is the energy already stored, like a “cocked” spring, by the conformational change that occurred in the head when the ATP molecule was cleaved earlier. 4. Once the head of the cross-bridge tilts, this allows release of the ADP and phosphate ion that were previously attached to the head. At the site of release of the ADP, a new molecule of ATP binds. This binding of new ATP causes detachment of the head from the actin. 5. After the head has detached from the actin, the new molecule of ATP is cleaved to begin the next cycle, leading to a new power stroke. That is, the energy again “cocks” the head back to its perpendicular condition, ready to begin the new power stroke cycle. 6. When the cocked head (with its stored energy derived from the cleaved ATP) binds with a new active site on the actin filament, it becomes uncocked and once again provides a new power stroke. Thus, the process proceeds again and again until the actin filaments pull the Z membrane up against the ends of the myosin filaments or until the load on the muscle becomes too great for further pulling to occur. Movement

Active sites

Hinges

Actin filament

Power stroke

Myosin filament

Figure 6-8  “Walk-along” mechanism for contraction of the muscle.

Chapter 6  Contraction of Skeletal Muscle

The Amount of Actin and Myosin Filament Overlap Determines Tension Developed by the Contracting Muscle

Normal range of contraction

Effect of Muscle Length on Force of Contraction in the Whole Intact Muscle.  The top curve of Figure 6-10 is similar to that in Figure 6-9, but the curve in Figure 6-10 depicts tension of the intact, whole muscle rather than of a single muscle fiber. The whole muscle has a large D

B C

C

A

B

D 0

Tension of muscle

Tension before contraction

1/2 normal

Normal

2× normal

Length

Figure 6-10  Relation of muscle length to tension in the muscle both before and during muscle contraction.

amount of connective tissue in it; also, the sarcomeres in different parts of the muscle do not always contract the same amount. Therefore, the curve has somewhat different dimensions from those shown for the individual muscle fiber, but it exhibits the same general form for the slope in the normal range of contraction, as noted in Figure 6-10. Note in Figure 6-10 that when the muscle is at its normal resting length, which is at a sarcomere length of about 2 micrometers, it contracts upon activation with the approximate maximum force of contraction. However, the increase in tension that occurs during contraction, called active tension, decreases as the muscle is stretched beyond its normal length—that is, to a sarcomere length greater than about 2.2 micrometers. This is demonstrated by the decreased length of the arrow in the figure at greater than normal muscle length. Relation of Velocity of Contraction to Load A skeletal muscle contracts rapidly when it contracts against no load—to a state of full contraction in about 0.1 second for the average muscle. When loads are applied, the velocity of contraction becomes progressively less as the load increases, as shown in Figure 6-11. That is, when the

A

50

0

Increase in tension during contraction

0

1 2 3 4 Length of sarcomere (micrometers)

Figure 6-9  Length-tension diagram for a single fully contracted sarcomere, showing maximum strength of contraction when the sarcomere is 2.0 to 2.2 micrometers in length. At the upper right are the relative positions of the actin and myosin filaments at different sarcomere lengths from point A to point D. (Modified from Gordon AM, Huxley AF, Julian FJ: The length-tension diagram of single vertebrate striated muscle fibers. J Physiol 171:28P, 1964.)

Velocity of contraction (cm/sec)

Tension developed (percent)

100

Tension during contraction

U n i t II

Figure 6-9 shows the effect of sarcomere length and amount of myosin-actin filament overlap on the active tension developed by a contracting muscle fiber. To the right, shown in black, are different degrees of overlap of the myosin and actin filaments at different sarcomere lengths. At point D on the diagram, the actin filament has pulled all the way out to the end of the myosin filament, with no actin-myosin overlap. At this point, the tension developed by the activated muscle is zero. Then, as the sarco­ mere shortens and the actin filament begins to overlap the myosin filament, the tension increases progressively until the sarcomere length decreases to about 2.2 micrometers. At this point, the actin filament has already overlapped all the cross-bridges of the myosin filament but has not yet reached the center of the myosin filament. With further shortening, the sarcomere maintains full tension until point B is reached, at a sarcomere length of about 2 micrometers. At this point, the ends of the two actin filaments begin to overlap each other in addition to overlapping the myosin filaments. As the sarcomere length falls from 2 micrometers down to about 1.65 micrometers, at point A, the strength of contraction decreases rapidly. At this point, the two Z discs of the sarcomere abut the ends of the myosin filaments. Then, as contraction proceeds to still shorter sarcomere lengths, the ends of the myosin filaments are crumpled and, as shown in the figure, the strength of contraction approaches zero, but the sarco­ mere has now contracted to its shortest length.

30

20

10

0 0

1 2 3 4 Load-opposing contraction (kg)

Figure 6-11  Relation of load to velocity of contraction in a skeletal muscle with a cross section of 1 square centimeter and a length of 8 centimeters.

77

Unit II  Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle load has been increased to equal the maximum force that the muscle can exert, the velocity of contraction becomes zero and no contraction results, despite activation of the muscle fiber. This decreasing velocity of contraction with load is caused by the fact that a load on a contracting muscle is a reverse force that opposes the contractile force caused by muscle contraction. Therefore, the net force that is available to cause velocity of shortening is correspondingly reduced.

Energetics of Muscle Contraction Work Output During Muscle Contraction When a muscle contracts against a load, it performs work. This means that energy is transferred from the muscle to the external load to lift an object to a greater height or to overcome resistance to movement. In mathematical terms, work is defined by the following equation: W=L×D

in which W is the work output, L is the load, and D is the distance of movement against the load. The energy required to perform the work is derived from the chemical reactions in the muscle cells during contraction, as described in the following sections.

Sources of Energy for Muscle Contraction We have already seen that muscle contraction depends on energy supplied by ATP. Most of this energy is required to actuate the walk-along mechanism by which the crossbridges pull the actin filaments, but small amounts are required for (1) pumping calcium ions from the sarcoplasm into the sarcoplasmic reticulum after the contraction is over and (2) pumping sodium and potassium ions through the muscle fiber membrane to maintain appropriate ionic environment for propagation of muscle fiber action potentials. The concentration of ATP in the muscle fiber, about 4 millimolar, is sufficient to maintain full contraction for only 1 to 2 seconds at most. The ATP is split to form ADP, which transfers energy from the ATP molecule to the contracting machinery of the muscle fiber. Then, as described in Chapter 2, the ADP is rephosphorylated to form new ATP within another fraction of a second, which allows the muscle to continue its contraction. There are several sources of the energy for this rephosphorylation. The first source of energy that is used to reconstitute the ATP is the substance phosphocreatine, which carries a high-energy phosphate bond similar to the bonds of ATP. The high-energy phosphate bond of phosphocreatine has a slightly higher amount of free energy than that of each ATP bond, as is discussed more fully in Chapters 67 and 72. Therefore, phosphocreatine is instantly cleaved, and its released energy causes bonding of a new phosphate ion to ADP to reconstitute the ATP. However, the total amount 78

of phosphocreatine in the muscle fiber is also very little— only about five times as great as the ATP. Therefore, the combined energy of both the stored ATP and the phosphocreatine in the muscle is capable of causing maximal muscle contraction for only 5 to 8 seconds. The second important source of energy, which is used to reconstitute both ATP and phosphocreatine, is “gly­ colysis” of glycogen previously stored in the muscle cells. Rapid enzymatic breakdown of the glycogen to pyruvic acid and lactic acid liberates energy that is used to convert ADP to ATP; the ATP can then be used directly to energize additional muscle contraction and also to re-form the stores of phosphocreatine. The importance of this glycolysis mechanism is twofold. First, the glycolytic reactions can occur even in the absence of oxygen, so muscle contraction can be sustained for many seconds and sometimes up to more than a minute, even when oxygen delivery from the blood is not available. Second, the rate of formation of ATP by the glycolytic process is about 2.5 times as rapid as ATP formation in response to cellular foodstuffs reacting with oxygen. However, so many end products of glycolysis accumulate in the muscle cells that glycolysis also loses its capability to sustain maximum muscle contraction after about 1 minute. The third and final source of energy is oxidative metabolism. This means combining oxygen with the end products of glycolysis and with various other cellular foodstuffs to liberate ATP. More than 95 percent of all energy used by the muscles for sustained, long-term contraction is derived from this source. The foodstuffs that are consumed are carbohydrates, fats, and protein. For extremely long-term maximal muscle activity—over a period of many hours—by far the greatest proportion of energy comes from fats, but for periods of 2 to 4 hours, as much as one half of the energy can come from stored carbohydrates. The detailed mechanisms of these energetic processes are discussed in Chapters 67 through 72. In addition, the importance of the different mechanisms of energy release during performance of different sports is discussed in Chapter 84 on sports physiology. Efficiency of Muscle Contraction.  The efficiency of an engine or a motor is calculated as the percentage of energy input that is converted into work instead of heat. The percentage of the input energy to muscle (the chemical energy in nutrients) that can be converted into work, even under the best conditions, is less than 25 percent, with the remainder becoming heat. The reason for this low efficiency is that about one half of the energy in foodstuffs is lost during the formation of ATP, and even then, only 40 to 45 percent of the energy in the ATP itself can later be converted into work. Maximum efficiency can be realized only when the muscle contracts at a moderate velocity. If the muscle contracts slowly or without any movement, small amounts of maintenance heat are released during contraction, even though little or no work is performed, thereby decreasing the con-

Chapter 6  Contraction of Skeletal Muscle

Many features of muscle contraction can be demonstrated by eliciting single muscle twitches. This can be accomplished by instantaneous electrical excitation of the nerve to a muscle or by passing a short electrical stimulus through the muscle itself, giving rise to a single, sudden contraction lasting for a fraction of a second. Isometric Versus Isotonic Contraction.  Muscle contraction is said to be isometric when the muscle does not shorten during contraction and isotonic when it does shorten but the tension on the muscle remains constant throughout the contraction. Systems for recording the two types of muscle contraction are shown in Figure 6-12. In the isometric system, the muscle contracts against a force transducer without decreasing the muscle length, as shown on the right in Figure 6-12. In the isotonic system, the muscle shortens against a fixed load; this is illustrated on the left in the figure, showing a muscle lifting a pan of weights. The characteristics of isotonic contraction depend on the load against which the muscle contracts, as well as the inertia of the load. However, the isometric system records strictly changes in force of muscle contraction itself. Therefore, the isometric system is most often used when comparing the functional characteristics of different muscle types. Characteristics of Isometric Twitches Rec­orded from Different Muscles.  The human body has many sizes of skeletal muscles—from the small stapedius muscle in the middle ear, measuring only a few millimeters long and a millimeter or so in diameter, up to the large quadriceps muscle, a half million times as large as the stapedius. Further, the fibers may be as small as 10 micrometers in diameter or as large as 80 micrometers. Finally, the energetics of muscle contraction vary considerably from one muscle to another. Therefore, it is no wonder that the mechanical characteristics of muscle contraction differ among muscles.

Stimulating electrodes Kymograph

Stimulating electrodes

Muscle

Weights

Isotonic system

Electronic force transducer To electronic recorder Isometric system

Figure 6-12  Isotonic and isometric systems for recording muscle contractions.

Force of contraction

Characteristics of Whole Muscle Contraction

Duration of depolarization

Soleus

U n i t II

version efficiency to as little as zero. Conversely, if contraction is too rapid, large proportions of the energy are used to overcome viscous friction within the muscle itself, and this, too, reduces the efficiency of contraction. Ordinarily, maximum efficiency is developed when the velocity of contraction is about 30 percent of maximum.

Gastrocnemius Ocular muscle 0

40

80 120 Milliseconds

160

200

Figure 6-13  Duration of isometric contractions for different types of mammalian skeletal muscles, showing a latent period between the action potential (depolarization) and muscle contraction. Figure 6-13 shows records of isometric contractions of three types of skeletal muscle: an ocular muscle, which has a duration of isometric contraction of less than 1/50 second; the gastrocnemius muscle, which has a duration of contraction of about 1/15 second; and the soleus muscle, which has a duration of contraction of about 1/5 second. It is interesting that these durations of contraction are adapted to the functions of the respective muscles. Ocular movements must be extremely rapid to maintain fixation of the eyes on specific objects to provide accuracy of vision. The gastrocnemius muscle must contract moderately rapidly to provide sufficient velocity of limb movement for running and jumping, and the soleus muscle is concerned principally with slow contraction for continual, long-term support of the body against gravity. Fast Versus Slow Muscle Fibers.  As we discuss more fully in Chapter 84 on sports physiology, every muscle of the body is composed of a mixture of so-called fast and slow muscle fibers, with still other fibers gradated between these two extremes. Muscles that react rapidly, including anterior tibialis, are composed mainly of “fast” fibers with only small numbers of the slow variety. Conversely, muscles such as soleus that respond slowly but with prolonged contraction are composed mainly of “slow” fibers. The differences between these two types of fibers are as follows. Slow Fibers (Type 1, Red Muscle).  (1) Smaller fibers. (2) Also innervated by smaller nerve fibers. (3) More extensive blood vessel system and capillaries to supply extra amounts of oxygen. (4) Greatly increased numbers of mitochondria, also to support high levels of oxidative metabolism. (5) Fibers contain large amounts of myoglobin, an iron-containing protein similar to hemoglobin in red blood cells. Myoglobin combines with oxygen and stores it until needed; this also greatly speeds oxygen transport to the mitochondria. The myoglobin gives the slow muscle a reddish appearance and the name red muscle. Fast Fibers (Type II, White Muscle).  (1) Large fibers for great strength of contraction. (2) Extensive sarcoplasmic reticulum for rapid release of calcium ions to initiate contraction. (3) Large amounts of glycolytic enzymes for rapid release of energy by the glycolytic process. (4) Less extensive blood ­supply because ­oxidative metabolism is of secondary importance. (5) Fewer mitochondria, also because oxidative metabolism is secondary. A deficit of red myoglobin in fast muscle gives it the name white muscle.

79

Mechanics of Skeletal Muscle Contraction Motor Unit—All the Muscle Fibers Innervated by a Single Nerve Fiber.  Each motoneuron that leaves the spinal cord innervates multiple muscle fibers, the number depending on the type of muscle. All the muscle fibers innervated by a single nerve fiber are called a motor unit. In general, small muscles that react rapidly and whose control must be exact have more nerve fibers for fewer muscle fibers (for instance, as few as two or three muscle fibers per motor unit in some of the laryngeal muscles). Conversely, large muscles that do not require fine control, such as the soleus muscle, may have several hundred muscle fibers in a motor unit. An average figure for all the muscles of the body is questionable, but a good guess would be about 80 to 100 muscle fibers to a motor unit. The muscle fibers in each motor unit are not all bunched together in the muscle but overlap other motor units in microbundles of 3 to 15 fibers. This interdigitation allows the separate motor units to contract in support of one another rather than entirely as individual segments. Muscle Contractions of Different Force—Force Sum­ mation.  Summation means the adding together of individual twitch contractions to increase the intensity of overall muscle contraction. Summation occurs in two ways: (1) by increasing the number of motor units contracting simultaneously, which is called multiple fiber summation, and (2) by increasing the frequency of contraction, which is called frequency summation and can lead to tetanization. Multiple Fiber Summation.  When the central nervous system sends a weak signal to contract a muscle, the smaller motor units of the muscle may be stimulated in preference to the larger motor units. Then, as the strength of the signal increases, larger and larger motor units begin to be excited as well, with the largest motor units often having as much as 50 times the contractile force of the smallest units. This is called the size principle. It is important because it allows the gradations of muscle force during weak contraction to occur in small steps, whereas the steps become progressively greater when large amounts of force are required. The cause of this size principle is that the smaller motor units are driven by small motor nerve fibers, and the small motoneurons in the spinal cord are more excitable than the larger ones, so naturally they are excited first. Another important feature of multiple fiber summation is that the different motor units are driven asynchronously by the spinal cord, so contraction alternates among motor units one after the other, thus providing smooth contraction even at low frequencies of nerve signals. Frequency Summation and Tetanization.  Figure 6-14 shows the principles of frequency summation and tetanization. To the left are displayed individual twitch contractions occurring one after another at low frequency of stimulation. Then, as the frequency increases, there comes a point where each new contraction occurs before the preceding one is over. As a result, the second contraction is added partially to the first, so the total strength of contraction rises progressively with increasing frequency. When the frequency reaches a critical level, the successive contractions eventually become so rapid that they fuse together and the whole muscle contraction appears to be completely smooth and continuous, as shown in the figure. This is called tetanization. At a slightly higher frequency, the strength of contraction reaches its

80

Strength of muscle contraction

Unit II  Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle

Tetanization

5

10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 Rate of stimulation (times per second)

Figure 6-14  Frequency summation and tetanization. maximum, so any additional increase in frequency beyond that point has no further effect in increasing contractile force. This occurs because enough calcium ions are maintained in the muscle sarcoplasm, even between action potentials, so that full contractile state is sustained without allowing any relaxation between the action potentials. Maximum Strength of Contraction.  The maximum strength of tetanic contraction of a muscle operating at a normal muscle length averages between 3 and 4 kilograms per square centimeter of muscle, or 50 pounds per square inch. Because a quadriceps muscle can have up to 16 square inches of muscle belly, as much as 800 pounds of tension may be applied to the patellar tendon. Thus, one can readily understand how it is possible for muscles to pull their tendons out of their insertions in bone. Changes in Muscle Strength at the Onset of Contraction— The Staircase Effect (Treppe).  When a muscle begins to contract after a long period of rest, its initial strength of contraction may be as little as one-half its strength 10 to 50 muscle twitches later. That is, the strength of contraction increases to a plateau, a phenomenon called the staircase effect, or treppe. Although all the possible causes of the staircase effect are not known, it is believed to be caused primarily by increasing calcium ions in the cytosol because of the release of more and more ions from the sarcoplasmic reticulum with each successive muscle action potential and failure of the sarcoplasm to recapture the ions immediately. Skeletal Muscle Tone.  Even when muscles are at rest, a certain amount of tautness usually remains. This is called muscle tone. Because normal skeletal muscle fibers do not contract without an action potential to stimulate the fibers, skeletal muscle tone results entirely from a low rate of nerve impulses coming from the spinal cord. These, in turn, are controlled partly by signals transmitted from the brain to the appropriate spinal cord anterior motoneurons and partly by signals that originate in muscle spindles located in the muscle itself. Both of these are discussed in relation to muscle spindle and spinal cord function in Chapter 54. Muscle Fatigue.  Prolonged and strong contraction of a muscle leads to the well-known state of muscle fatigue. Studies in athletes have shown that muscle fatigue increases in almost direct proportion to the rate of depletion of muscle glycogen. Therefore, fatigue results mainly from inability of the contractile and metabolic processes of the muscle fibers to continue supplying the same work output. However, experiments have also shown that transmission of the nerve signal

Chapter 6  Contraction of Skeletal Muscle

Figure 6-15  Lever system activated by the biceps muscle.

is called coactivation of the agonist and antagonist muscles, and it is controlled by the motor control centers of the brain and spinal cord. The position of each separate part of the body, such as an arm or a leg, is determined by the relative degrees of contraction of the agonist and antagonist sets of muscles. For instance, let us assume that an arm or a leg is to be placed in a midrange position. To achieve this, agonist and antagonist muscles are excited about equally. Remember that an elongated muscle contracts with more force than a shortened muscle, which was demonstrated in Figure 6-10, showing maximum strength of contraction at full functional muscle length and almost no strength of contraction at half-normal length. Therefore, the elongated muscle on one side of a joint can contract with far greater force than the shorter muscle on the opposite side. As an arm or leg moves toward its midposition, the strength of the longer muscle decreases, whereas the strength of the shorter muscle increases until the two strengths equal each other. At this point, movement of the arm or leg stops. Thus, by varying the ratios of the degree of activation of the agonist and antagonist muscles, the nervous system directs the positioning of the arm or leg. We learn in Chapter 54 that the motor nervous system has additional important mechanisms to compensate for different muscle loads when directing this positioning process. Remodeling of Muscle to Match Function All the muscles of the body are continually being remodeled to match the functions that are required of them. Their diameters are altered, their lengths are altered, their strengths are altered, their vascular supplies are altered, and even the types of muscle fibers are altered at least slightly. This remodeling process is often quite rapid, within a few weeks. Indeed, experiments in animals have shown that muscle contractile proteins in some smaller, more active muscles can be replaced in as little as 2 weeks. Muscle Hypertrophy and Muscle Atrophy.  When the total mass of a muscle increases, this is called muscle hypertrophy. When it decreases, the process is called muscle atrophy. Virtually all muscle hypertrophy results from an increase in the number of actin and myosin filaments in each muscle fiber, causing enlargement of the individual muscle fibers; this is called simply fiber hypertrophy. Hypertrophy occurs to a much greater extent when the muscle is loaded during the contractile process. Only a few strong contractions each day are required to cause significant ­hypertrophy within 6 to 10 weeks. The manner in which forceful contraction leads to hypertrophy is not known. It is known, however, that the rate of synthesis of muscle contractile proteins is far greater when hypertrophy is developing, leading also to progressively greater numbers of both actin and myosin filaments in the myofibrils, often increasing as much as 50 percent. In turn, some of the myofibrils themselves have been observed to split within hypertrophying muscle to form new myofibrils, but how important this is in usual muscle hypertrophy is still unknown. Along with the increasing size of myofibrils, the enzyme systems that provide energy also increase. This is especially true of the enzymes for glycolysis, allowing rapid supply of energy during short-term forceful muscle contraction.

81

U n i t II

through the neuromuscular junction, which is discussed in Chapter 7, can diminish at least a small amount after intense prolonged muscle activity, thus further diminishing muscle contraction. Interruption of blood flow through a contracting muscle leads to almost complete muscle fatigue within 1 or 2 minutes because of the loss of nutrient supply, especially loss of oxygen. Lever Systems of the Body.  Muscles operate by applying tension to their points of insertion into bones, and the bones in turn form various types of lever systems. Figure 6-15 shows the lever system activated by the biceps muscle to lift the forearm. If we assume that a large biceps muscle has a cross-sectional area of 6 square inches, the maximum force of contraction would be about 300 pounds. When the forearm is at right angles with the upper arm, the tendon attachment of the biceps is about 2 inches anterior to the fulcrum at the elbow and the total length of the forearm lever is about 14 inches. Therefore, the amount of lifting power of the biceps at the hand would be only one seventh of the 300 pounds of muscle force, or about 43 pounds. When the arm is fully extended, the attachment of the biceps is much less than 2 inches anterior to the fulcrum and the force with which the hand can be brought forward is also much less than 43 pounds. In short, an analysis of the lever systems of the body depends on knowledge of (1) the point of muscle insertion, (2) its distance from the fulcrum of the lever, (3) the length of the lever arm, and (4) the position of the lever. Many types of movement are required in the body, some of which need great strength and others of which need large distances of movement. For this reason, there are many different types of muscle; some are long and contract a long distance, and some are short but have large cross-sectional areas and can provide extreme strength of contraction over short distances. The study of different types of muscles, lever systems, and their movements is called kinesiology and is an important scientific component of human physioanatomy. “Positioning” of a Body Part by Contraction of Agonist and Antagonist Muscles on Opposite Sides of a Joint— “Coactivation” of Antagonist Muscles.  Virtually all body movements are caused by simultaneous contraction of agonist and antagonist muscles on opposite sides of joints. This

Unit II  Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle When a muscle remains unused for many weeks, the rate of degradation of the contractile proteins is more rapid than the rate of replacement. Therefore, muscle atrophy occurs. The pathway that appears to account for much of the protein degradation in a muscle undergoing atrophy is the ATPdependent ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Proteasomes are large protein complexes that degrade damaged or unneeded proteins by proteolysis, a chemical reaction that breaks peptide bonds. Ubiquitin is a regulatory protein that basically labels which cells will be targeted for proteasomal degradation.

Adjustment of Muscle Length.  Another type of hypertrophy occurs when muscles are stretched to greater than normal length. This causes new sarcomeres to be added at the ends of the muscle fibers, where they attach to the tendons. In fact, new sarcomeres can be added as rapidly as several per minute in newly developing muscle, illustrating the rapidity of this type of hypertrophy. Conversely, when a muscle continually remains shortened to less than its normal length, sarcomeres at the ends of the muscle fibers can actually disappear. It is by these processes that muscles are continually remodeled to have the appropriate length for proper muscle contraction. Hyperplasia of Muscle Fibers.  Under rare conditions of extreme muscle force generation, the actual number of muscle fibers has been observed to increase (but only by a few percentage points), in addition to the fiber hypertrophy process. This increase in fiber number is called fiber hyperplasia. When it does occur, the mechanism is linear splitting of previously enlarged fibers.

Effects of Muscle Denervation.  When a muscle loses its nerve supply, it no longer receives the contractile signals that are required to maintain normal muscle size. Therefore, atrophy begins almost immediately. After about 2 months, degenerative changes also begin to appear in the muscle fibers themselves. If the nerve supply to the muscle grows back rapidly, full return of function can occur in as little as 3 months, but from that time onward, the capability of functional return becomes less and less, with no further return of function after 1 to 2 years. In the final stage of denervation atrophy, most of the muscle fibers are destroyed and replaced by fibrous and fatty tissue. The fibers that do remain are composed of a long cell membrane with a lineup of muscle cell nuclei but with few or no contractile properties and little or no capability of regenerating myofibrils if a nerve does regrow. The fibrous tissue that replaces the muscle fibers during denervation atrophy also has a tendency to continue shortening for many months, which is called contracture. Therefore, one of the most important problems in the practice of physical therapy is to keep atrophying muscles from developing debilitating and disfiguring contractures. This is achieved by daily stretching of the muscles or use of appliances that keep the muscles stretched during the atrophying process. 82

Recovery of Muscle Contraction in Poliomyelitis: Development of Macromotor Units.  When some but not all nerve fibers to a muscle are destroyed, as commonly occurs in poliomyelitis, the remaining nerve fibers branch off to form new axons that then innervate many of the paralyzed muscle fibers. This causes large motor units called macromotor units, which can contain as many as five times the normal number of muscle fibers for each motoneuron coming from the spinal cord. This decreases the fineness of control one has over the muscles but does allow the muscles to regain varying degrees of strength. Rigor Mortis Several hours after death, all the muscles of the body go into a state of contracture called “rigor mortis”; that is, the muscles contract and become rigid, even without action potentials. This rigidity results from loss of all the ATP, which is required to cause separation of the cross-bridges from the actin filaments during the relaxation process. The muscles remain in rigor until the muscle proteins deteriorate about 15 to 25 hours later, which presumably results from autolysis caused by enzymes released from lysosomes. All these events occur more rapidly at higher temperatures.

Bibliography Allen DG, Lamb GD, Westerblad H: Skeletal muscle fatigue: cellular mechanisms, Physiol Rev 88:287, 2008. Berchtold MW, Brinkmeier H, Muntener M: Calcium ion in skeletal muscle: its crucial role for muscle function, plasticity, and disease, Physiol Rev 80:1215, 2000. Cheng H, Lederer WJ: Calcium sparks, Physiol Rev 88:1491, 2008. Clanton TL, Levine S: Respiratory muscle fiber remodeling in chronic hyperinflation: dysfunction or adaptation? J Appl Physiol 107:324, 2009. Clausen T: Na+-K+ pump regulation and skeletal muscle contractility, Physiol Rev 83:1269, 2003. Dirksen RT: Checking your SOCCs and feet: the molecular mechanisms of Ca2+ entry in skeletal muscle, J Physiol 587:3139, 2009. Fitts RH: The cross-bridge cycle and skeletal muscle fatigue, J Appl Physiol 104:551, 2008. Glass DJ: Signalling pathways that mediate skeletal muscle hypertrophy and atrophy, Nat Cell Biol 5:87, 2003. Gordon AM, Regnier M, Homsher E: Skeletal and cardiac muscle contractile activation: tropomyosin “rocks and rolls”, News Physiol Sci 16:49, 2001. Gunning P, O’Neill G, Hardeman E: Tropomyosin-based regulation of the actin cytoskeleton in time and space, Physiol Rev 88:1, 2008. Huxley AF, Gordon AM: Striation patterns in active and passive shortening of muscle, Nature (Lond) 193:280, 1962. Kjær M: Role of extracellular matrix in adaptation of tendon and skeletal muscle to mechanical loading, Physiol Rev 84:649, 2004. Lynch GS, Ryall JG: Role of beta-adrenoceptor signaling in skeletal muscle: implications for muscle wasting and disease, Physiol Rev 88:729, 2008. MacIntosh BR: Role of calcium sensitivity modulation in skeletal muscle performance, News Physiol Sci 18:222, 2003. Phillips SM, Glover EI, Rennie MJ: Alterations of protein turnover underlying disuse atrophy in human skeletal muscle, J Appl Physiol 107:645, 2009. Powers SK, Jackson MJ: Exercise-induced oxidative stress: cellular mechanisms and impact on muscle force production, Physiol Rev 88:1243, 2008. Sandri M: Signaling in muscle atrophy and hypertrophy, Physiology (Bethesda) 160, 2008. Sieck GC, Regnier M: Plasticity and energetic demands of contraction in skeletal and cardiac muscle, J Appl Physiol 90:1158, 2001. Treves S, Vukcevic M, Maj M, et al: Minor sarcoplasmic reticulum membrane components that modulate excitation-contraction coupling in striated muscles, J Physiol 587:3071, 2009.

chapter 7

Transmission of Impulses from Nerve Endings to Skeletal Muscle Fibers: The Neuromuscular Junction The skeletal muscle fibers are innervated by large, myelinated nerve fibers that originate from large motoneurons in the anterior horns of the spinal cord. As pointed out in Chapter 6, each nerve fiber, after entering the muscle belly, normally branches and stimulates from three to several hundred skeletal muscle fibers. Each nerve ending makes a junction, called the neuromuscular junction, with the muscle fiber near its midpoint. The action potential initiated in the muscle fiber by the nerve signal travels in both directions toward the muscle fiber ends. With the exception of about 2 percent of the muscle fibers, there is only one such junction per muscle fiber.

Physiologic Anatomy of the Neuromuscular Junction—The Motor End Plate.  Figure 7-1A and B

shows the neuromuscular junction from a large, myelinated nerve fiber to a skeletal muscle fiber. The nerve fiber forms a complex of branching nerve terminals that invaginate into the surface of the muscle fiber but lie outside the muscle fiber plasma membrane. The entire structure is called the motor end plate. It is covered by one or more Schwann cells that insulate it from the surrounding fluids. Figure 7-1C shows an electron micrographic sketch of the junction between a single axon terminal and the muscle fiber membrane. The invaginated membrane is called the synaptic gutter or synaptic trough, and the space between the terminal and the fiber membrane is called the synaptic space or synaptic cleft. This space is 20 to 30 nanometers wide. At the bottom of the gutter are numerous smaller folds of the muscle membrane called subneural clefts, which greatly increase the surface area at which the synaptic transmitter can act. In the axon terminal are many mitochondria that supply adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy source that is used for synthesis of an excitatory transmitter, acetylcholine. The acetylcholine in turn excites the muscle fiber

membrane. Acetylcholine is synthesized in the cytoplasm of the terminal, but it is absorbed rapidly into many small synaptic vesicles, about 300,000 of which are normally in the terminals of a single end plate. In the synaptic space are large quantities of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which destroys acetylcholine a few milliseconds after it has been released from the synaptic vesicles.

Secretion of Acetylcholine by the Nerve Terminals When a nerve impulse reaches the neuromuscular junction, about 125 vesicles of acetylcholine are released from the terminals into the synaptic space. Some of the details of this mechanism can be seen in Figure 7-2, which shows an expanded view of a synaptic space with the neural membrane above and the muscle membrane and its ­subneural clefts below. On the inside surface of the neural membrane are linear dense bars, shown in cross section in Figure 7-2. To each side of each dense bar are protein particles that penetrate the neural membrane; these are voltage-gated calcium channels. When an action potential spreads over the terminal, these channels open and allow calcium ions to diffuse from the synaptic space to the interior of the nerve terminal. The calcium ions, in turn, are believed to exert an attractive influence on the acetylcholine vesicles, drawing them to the neural membrane adjacent to the dense bars. The vesicles then fuse with the neural membrane and empty their acetylcholine into the synaptic space by the process of exocytosis. Although some of the aforementioned details are speculative, it is known that the effective stimulus for causing acetylcholine release from the vesicles is entry of calcium ions and that acetylcholine from the vesicles is then emptied through the neural membrane adjacent to the dense bars.

Effect of Acetylcholine on the Postsynaptic Muscle Fiber Membrane to Open Ion Channels.  Figure 7-2

also shows many small acetylcholine receptors in the muscle fiber membrane; these are acetylcholine-gated ion channels, and they are located almost entirely near the mouths of the subneural clefts lying immediately below the dense bar areas, where the acetylcholine is emptied into the ­synaptic space. 83

U n i t II

Excitation of Skeletal Muscle: Neuromuscular Transmission and Excitation-Contraction Coupling

Unit II  Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle Figure 7-1  Different views of the motor end plate. A, Longitudinal section through the end plate. B,  Surface view of the end plate. C, Electron micrographic appearance of the contact point between a single axon terminal and the muscle fiber membrane. (Redrawn from Fawcett DW, as modified from Couteaux R, in Bloom W, Fawcett DW: A Textbook of Histology. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1986.)

Myelin sheath Terminal nerve branches Teloglial cell

Muscle nuclei

Myofibrils

A

B

Synaptic vesicles

C Release Neural sites membrane

Dense bar Calcium channels Basal lamina and acetylcholinesterase Acetylcholine receptors

Voltage activated Na+ channels

Muscle membrane

Figure 7-2  Release of acetylcholine from synaptic vesicles at the neural membrane of the neuromuscular junction. Note the proximity of the release sites in the neural membrane to the acetylcholine receptors in the muscle membrane, at the mouths of the subneural clefts.

Each receptor is a protein complex that has a total molecular weight of 275,000. The complex is composed of five subunit proteins, two alpha proteins and one each of beta, delta, and gamma proteins. These protein molecules penetrate all the way through the membrane, lying side by side in a circle to form a tubular channel, illus84

Axon terminal in synaptic trough

Subneural clefts

Vesicles

Subneural cleft

Axon

trated in Figure 7-3. The channel remains constricted, as shown in section A of the figure, until two acetylcholine molecules attach respectively to the two alpha subunit proteins. This causes a conformational change that opens the channel, as shown in section B of the figure. The acetylcholine-gated channel has a diameter of about 0.65 nanometer, which is large enough to allow the important positive ions—sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), and calcium (Ca++)—to move easily through the opening. Conversely, negative ions, such as chloride ions, do not pass through because of strong negative charges in the mouth of the channel that repel these negative ions. In practice, far more sodium ions flow through the ­acetylcholine-gated channels than any other ions, for two reasons. First, there are only two positive ions in large concentration: sodium ions in the extracellular fluid and potassium ions in the intracellular fluid. Second, the negative potential on the inside of the muscle membrane, −80 to −90 millivolts, pulls the positively charged sodium ions to the inside of the fiber, while simultaneously preventing efflux of the positively charged potassium ions when they attempt to pass outward. As shown in Figure 7-3B, the principal effect of opening the acetylcholine-gated channels is to allow large numbers of sodium ions to pour to the inside of the fiber, carrying with them large numbers of positive charges. This creates a local positive potential change inside the muscle fiber membrane, called the end plate potential. In turn, this end plate potential initiates an action potential that spreads along the muscle membrane and thus causes muscle contraction.

Chapter 7  Excitation of Skeletal Muscle: Neuromuscular Transmission and Excitation-Contraction Coupling

Na+

Ach

– – –

– – –

B Figure 7-3  Acetylcholine-gated channel. A, Closed state. B, After acetylcholine (Ach) has become attached and a conformational change has opened the channel, allowing sodium ions to enter the muscle fiber and excite contraction. Note the negative charges at the channel mouth that prevent passage of negative ions such as chloride ions.

Destruction of the Released Acetylcholine by Acetylcholinesterase.  The acetylcholine, once released

into the synaptic space, continues to activate the acetylcholine receptors as long as the acetylcholine persists in the space. However, it is removed rapidly by two means: (1) Most of the acetylcholine is destroyed by the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which is attached mainly to the spongy layer of fine connective tissue that fills the synaptic space between the presynaptic nerve terminal and the postsynaptic muscle membrane. (2) A small amount of acetylcholine diffuses out of the synaptic space and is then no longer available to act on the muscle fiber membrane. The short time that the acetylcholine remains in the synaptic space—a few milliseconds at most—normally is sufficient to excite the muscle fiber. Then the rapid removal of the acetylcholine prevents continued muscle re-excitation after the muscle fiber has recovered from its initial action potential.

into the muscle fiber when the acetylcholine-gated channels open causes the electrical potential inside the fiber at the local area of the end plate to increase in the positive direction as much as 50 to 75 millivolts, creating a local potential called the end plate potential. Recall from Chapter 5 that a sudden increase in nerve membrane potential of more than 20 to 30 millivolts is normally sufficient to initiate more and more sodium channel opening, thus initiating an action potential at the muscle fiber membrane. Figure 7-4 shows the principle of an end plate potential initiating the action potential. This figure shows three separate end plate potentials. End plate potentials A and C are too weak to elicit an action potential, but they do produce weak local end plate voltage changes, as recorded in the figure. By contrast, end plate potential B is much stronger and causes enough sodium channels to open so that the self-regenerative effect of more and more sodium ions flowing to the interior of the fiber initiates an action potential. The weakness of the end plate potential at point A was caused by poisoning of the muscle fiber with curare, a drug that blocks the gating action of acetylcholine on the acetylcholine channels by competing for the acetylcholine receptor sites. The weakness of the end plate potential at point C resulted from the effect of botulinum toxin, a bacterial poison that decreases the quantity of acetylcholine release by the nerve terminals.

Safety Factor for Transmission at the Neuro­ muscular Junction; Fatigue of the Junction.  Ordinarily,

each impulse that arrives at the neuromuscular junction causes about three times as much end plate potential as that required to stimulate the muscle fiber. Therefore, the normal neuromuscular junction is said to have a high safety factor. However, stimulation of the nerve fiber at rates greater than 100 times per second for several minutes often diminishes the number of acetylcholine vesicles so much that impulses fail to pass into the muscle +60 +40 +20 0 –20

Threshold

–40 –60 –80

A

–100 0

B 15

30

C 45

60

75

Milliseconds

Figure 7-4  End plate potentials (in millivolts). A, Weakened end plate potential recorded in a curarized muscle, too weak to elicit an action potential. B, Normal end plate potential eliciting a muscle action potential. C, Weakened end plate potential caused by botulinum toxin that decreases end plate release of acetylcholine, again too weak to elicit a muscle action potential.

85

U n i t II

A

– – –

Millivolts

– – –

End Plate Potential and Excitation of the Skeletal Muscle Fiber.  The sudden insurgence of sodium ions

Unit II  Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle

fiber. This is called fatigue of the neuromuscular junction, and it is the same effect that causes fatigue of synapses in the central nervous system when the synapses are overexcited. Under normal functioning conditions, measurable fatigue of the neuromuscular junction occurs rarely, and even then only at the most exhausting levels of muscle activity. Molecular Biology of Acetylcholine Formation and Release Because the neuromuscular junction is large enough to be studied easily, it is one of the few synapses of the nervous system for which most of the details of chemical transmission have been worked out. The formation and release of acetylcholine at this junction occur in the following stages: 1. Small vesicles, about 40 nanometers in size, are formed by the Golgi apparatus in the cell body of the motoneuron in the spinal cord. These vesicles are then transported by axoplasm that “streams” through the core of the axon from the central cell body in the spinal cord all the way to the neuromuscular junction at the tips of the peripheral nerve fibers. About 300,000 of these small vesicles collect in the nerve terminals of a single skeletal muscle end plate. 2. Acetylcholine is synthesized in the cytosol of the nerve fiber terminal but is immediately transported through the membranes of the vesicles to their interior, where it is stored in highly concentrated form, about 10,000 molecules of acetylcholine in each vesicle. 3. When an action potential arrives at the nerve terminal, it opens many calcium channels in the membrane of the nerve terminal because this terminal has an abundance of voltage-gated calcium channels. As a result, the calcium ion concentration inside the terminal membrane increases about 100-fold, which in turn increases the rate of fusion of the acetylcholine vesicles with the terminal membrane about 10,000-fold. This fusion makes many of the vesicles rupture, allowing exocytosis of acetylcholine into the synaptic space. About 125 vesicles usually rupture with each action potential. Then, after a few milliseconds, the acetylcholine is split by acetylcholinesterase into acetate ion and choline and the choline is reabsorbed actively into the neural terminal to be reused to form new acetylcholine. This sequence of events occurs within a period of 5 to 10 milliseconds. 4. The number of vesicles available in the nerve ending is sufficient to allow transmission of only a few thousand nerve-to-muscle impulses. Therefore, for continued function of the neuromuscular junction, new vesicles need to be re-formed rapidly. Within a few seconds after each action potential is over, “coated pits” appear in the terminal nerve membrane, caused by contractile proteins in the nerve ending, especially the protein clathrin, which is attached to the membrane in the areas of the original vesicles. Within about 20 seconds, the proteins contract and cause the pits to break away to the interior of the membrane, thus forming new vesicles. Within another few seconds, acetylcholine is transported to the interior of these vesicles, and they are then ready for a new cycle of acetylcholine release.

86

Drugs That Enhance or Block Transmission at the Neuromuscular Junction Drugs That Stimulate the Muscle Fiber by AcetylcholineLike Action.  Many compounds, including methacholine, carbachol, and nicotine, have the same effect on the muscle fiber as does acetylcholine. The difference between these drugs and acetylcholine is that the drugs are not destroyed by cholinesterase or are destroyed so slowly that their action often persists for many minutes to several hours. The drugs work by causing localized areas of depolarization of the muscle fiber membrane at the motor end plate where the acetylcholine receptors are located. Then, every time the muscle fiber recovers from a previous contraction, these depolarized areas, by virtue of leaking ions, initiate a new action potential, thereby causing a state of muscle spasm. Drugs That Stimulate the Neuromuscular Junction by Inactivating Acetylcholinesterase.  Three particularly well-known drugs, neostigmine, physostigmine, and diisopropyl fluorophosphate, inactivate the acetylcholinesterase in the synapses so that it no longer hydrolyzes acetylcholine. Therefore, with each successive nerve impulse, additional acetylcholine accumulates and stimulates the muscle fiber repetitively. This causes muscle spasm when even a few nerve impulses reach the muscle. Unfortunately, it can also cause death due to laryngeal spasm, which smothers the person. Neostigmine and physostigmine combine with acetylcholinesterase to inactivate the acetylcholinesterase for up to several hours, after which these drugs are displaced from the acetylcholinesterase so that the esterase once again becomes active. Conversely, diisopropyl fluorophosphate, which is a powerful “nerve” gas poison, inactivates acetylcholinesterase for weeks, which makes this a particularly lethal poison. Drugs That Block Transmission at the Neuromuscular Junction.  A group of drugs known as curariform drugs can prevent passage of impulses from the nerve ending into the muscle. For instance, D-tubocurarine blocks the action of acetylcholine on the muscle fiber acetylcholine receptors, thus preventing sufficient increase in permeability of the muscle membrane channels to initiate an action potential.

Myasthenia Gravis Causes Muscle Paralysis Myasthenia gravis, which occurs in about 1 in every 20,000 persons, causes muscle paralysis because of inability of the neuromuscular junctions to transmit enough signals from the nerve fibers to the muscle fibers. Pathologically, antibodies that attack the acetylcholine receptors have been demonstrated in the blood of most patients with myasthenia gravis. Therefore, it is believed that myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease in which the patients have developed antibodies that block or destroy their own acetylcholine receptors at the postsynaptic neuromuscular junction. Regardless of the cause, the end plate potentials that occur in the muscle fibers are mostly too weak to initiate opening of the voltage-gated sodium channels so that muscle fiber depolarization does not occur. If the disease is intense enough, the patient dies of paralysis—in particular, paralysis of the respiratory muscles. The disease can usually be

Chapter 7  Excitation of Skeletal Muscle: Neuromuscular Transmission and Excitation-Contraction Coupling

Muscle Action Potential Almost everything discussed in Chapter 5 regarding initiation and conduction of action potentials in nerve fibers applies equally to skeletal muscle fibers, except for quantitative differences. Some of the quantitative aspects of muscle potentials are the following: 1. Resting membrane potential: about −80 to −90 millivolts in skeletal fibers—the same as in large myelinated nerve fibers. 2. Duration of action potential: 1 to 5 milliseconds in skeletal muscle—about five times as long as in large myelinated nerves.

3. Velocity of conduction: 3 to 5 m/sec—about 1/13 the velocity of conduction in the large myelinated nerve fibers that excite skeletal muscle.

Spread of the Action Potential to the Interior of the Muscle Fiber by Way of “Transverse Tubules” The skeletal muscle fiber is so large that action potentials spreading along its surface membrane cause almost no current flow deep within the fiber. Yet to cause maximum muscle contraction, current must penetrate deeply into the muscle fiber to the vicinity of the separate myofibrils. This is achieved by transmission of action potentials along transverse tubules (T tubules) that penetrate all the way through the muscle fiber from one side of the fiber to the other, as illustrated in Figure 7-5. The T tubule action potentials cause release of calcium ions inside the muscle fiber in the immediate vicinity of the myofibrils, and these calcium ions then cause contraction. This overall process is called excitation-­contraction coupling.

Myofibrils Sarcolemma Terminal cisternae

Z line Triad of the reticulum

Transverse tubule Mitochondrion

A band Sarcoplasmic reticulum

Transverse tubule

I band

Sarcotubules

Figure 7-5  Transverse (T) tubule–sarcoplasmic reticulum system. Note that the T tubules communicate with the outside of the cell membrane, and deep in the muscle fiber, each T tubule lies adjacent to the ends of longitudinal sarcoplasmic reticulum tubules that surround all sides of the actual myofibrils that contract. This illustration was drawn from frog muscle, which has one T tubule per sarcomere, located at the Z line. A similar arrangement is found in mammalian heart muscle, but mammalian skeletal muscle has two T tubules per sarcomere, located at the A-I band junctions.

87

U n i t II

­ameliorated for several hours by administering neostigmine or some other anticholinesterase drug, which allows larger than normal amounts of acetylcholine to accumulate in the synaptic space. Within minutes, some of these paralyzed people can begin to function almost normally, until a new dose of neostigmine is required a few hours later.

Unit II  Membrane Physiology, Nerve, and Muscle

Excitation-Contraction Coupling Transverse Tubule–Sarcoplasmic Reticulum System Figure 7-5 shows myofibrils surrounded by the T tubule– sarcoplasmic reticulum system. The T tubules are small and run transverse to the myofibrils. They begin at the cell membrane and penetrate all the way from one side of the muscle fiber to the opposite side. Not shown in the figure is the fact that these tubules branch among themselves and form entire planes of T tubules interlacing among all the separate myofibrils. Also, where the T tubules originate from the cell membrane, they are open to the exterior of the muscle fiber. Therefore, they communicate with the extracellular fluid surrounding the muscle fiber and they themselves contain extracellular fluid in their lumens. In other words, the T tubules are actually internal extensions of the cell membrane. Therefore, when an action potential spreads over a muscle fiber membrane, a potential change also spreads along the T tubules to the deep interior of the muscle fiber. The electrical currents surrounding these T tubules then elicit the muscle contraction. Figure 7-5 also shows a sarcoplasmic reticulum, in yellow. This is composed of two major parts: (1) large chambers called terminal cisternae that abut the T tubules and (2) long longitudinal tubules that surround all surfaces of the actual contracting myofibrils.

Release of Calcium Ions by the Sarcoplasmic Reticulum One of the special features of the sarcoplasmic reticulum is that within its vesicular tubules is an excess of calcium ions in high concentration, and many of these ions are released from each vesicle when an action potential occurs in the adjacent T tubule. Figure 7-6  Excitation-contraction coupling in skeletal muscle. The top panel shows an action potential in the T tubule that causes a conformational change in the voltage-sensing dihydropyridine (DHP) receptors, opening the Ca++ release channels in the terminal cisternae of the sarcoplasmic reticulum and permitting Ca++ to rapidly diffuse into the sarcoplasm and initiate muscle contraction. During repolarization (bottom panel) the conformational change in the DHP receptor closes the Ca++ release channels and Ca++ is transported from the sarcoplasm into the sarcoplasmic reticulum by an ATP-dependent calcium pump.

Figures 7-6 and 7-7 show that the action potential of the T tubule causes current flow into the sarcoplasmic reticular cisternae where they abut the T tubule. As the action potential reaches the T tubule, the voltage change is sensed by dihydropyridine receptors that are linked to calcium release channels, also called ryanodine receptor channels, in the adjacent sarcoplasmic reticular cisternae (see Figure 7-6). Activation of dihydropyridine receptors triggers the opening of the calcium release channels in the cisternae, as well as in their attached longitudinal tubules. These channels remain open for a few milliseconds, releasing calcium ions into the sarcoplasm surrounding the myofibrils and causing contraction, as discussed in Chapter 6.

Calcium Pump for Removing Calcium Ions from the Myofibrillar Fluid After Contraction Occurs.  Once the

calcium ions have been released from the sarcoplasmic tubules and have diffused among the myofibrils, muscle contraction continues as long as the calcium ions remain in high concentration. However, a continually active calcium pump located in the walls of the sarcoplasmic reticulum pumps calcium ions away from the myofibrils back into the sarcoplasmic tubules (see Figure 7-6). This pump can concentrate the calcium ions about 10,000-fold inside the tubules. In addition, inside the reticulum is a protein called calsequestrin that can bind up to 40 times more calcium.

Excitatory “Pulse” of Calcium Ions.  The normal resting state concentration (0 mm Hg), lymph flow fails to rise any further at still higher pressures. This results from the fact that the increasing tissue pressure not only increases entry of fluid into the lymphatic capillaries but also compresses the outside surfaces of the larger lymphatics, thus impeding lymph flow. At the higher pressures, these two factors balance each other almost exactly, so lymph flow reaches what is called the “maximum lymph flow rate.” This is illustrated by the upper level plateau in Figure 16-9.

Lymphatic Pump Increases Lymph Flow.  Valves exist in all lymph channels; typical valves are shown in Figure 16-10 in collecting lymphatics into which the lymphatic capillaries empty. Motion pictures of exposed lymph vessels in animals and in human beings show that when a collecting lymphatic or larger lymph vessel becomes stretched with fluid, the smooth muscle in the wall of the vessel automatically contracts. Furthermore, each segment of the lymph vessel between successive valves functions as a separate automatic pump. That is, even slight filling of a segment causes it to contract and the fluid is pumped through the next valve into the next lymphatic segment. This fills the subsequent segment, and a few seconds later it, too, contracts, the process continuing all along the lymph vessel until the fluid is finally emptied into the blood circulation. In a very

large lymph vessel such as the thoracic duct, this lymphatic pump can generate pressures as great as 50 to 100 mm Hg. Pumping Caused by External Intermittent Com­ pression of the Lymphatics.  In addition to the pumping caused by intrinsic intermittent contraction of the lymph vessel walls, any external factor that intermittently compresses the lymph vessel also can cause pumping. In order of their importance, such factors are as follows:

• • • •

Contraction of surrounding skeletal muscles Movement of the parts of the body Pulsations of arteries adjacent to the lymphatics Compression of the tissues by objects outside the body

The lymphatic pump becomes very active during exercise, often increasing lymph flow 10- to 30-fold. Conversely, during periods of rest, lymph flow is sluggish, almost zero.

Lymphatic Capillary Pump.  The terminal lymphatic capillary is also capable of pumping lymph, in addition to the pumping by the larger lymph vessels. As explained earlier in the chapter, the walls of the lymphatic capillaries are tightly adherent to the surrounding tissue cells by means of their anchoring filaments. Therefore, each time excess fluid enters the tissue and causes the tissue to swell, the anchoring filaments pull on the wall of the lymphatic capillary and fluid flows into the terminal lymphatic capillary through the junctions between the endothelial cells. Then, when the tissue is compressed, the pressure inside the capillary increases and causes the overlapping edges of the endothelial cells to close like valves. Therefore, the pressure pushes the lymph forward into the collecting lymphatic instead of backward through the cell junctions. The lymphatic capillary endothelial cells also contain a few contractile actomyosin filaments. In some animal tissues (e.g., the bat’s wing) these filaments have been observed to cause rhythmical contraction of the lymphatic capillaries in the same way that many of the small blood and larger lymphatic vessels also contract rhythmically. Therefore, it is probable that at least part of lymph

Pores Valves

Lymphatic capillaries

Collecting lymphatic

Figure 16-10  Structure of lymphatic capillaries and a collecting lymphatic, showing also the lymphatic valves.

188

Chapter 16  The Microcirculation and Lymphatic System: Capillary Fluid Exchange, Interstitial Fluid, and Lymph Flow

pumping results from lymph capillary endothelial cell contraction in addition to contraction of the larger muscular lymphatics.

two primary factors that determine lymph flow are (1) the interstitial fluid pressure and (2) the activity of the lymphatic pump. Therefore, one can state that, roughly, the rate of lymph flow is determined by the product of interstitial fluid pressure times the activity of the lymphatic pump.

Role of the Lymphatic System in Controlling Interstitial Fluid Protein Concentration, Interstitial Fluid Volume, and Interstitial Fluid Pressure It is already clear that the lymphatic system functions as an “overflow mechanism” to return to the circulation excess proteins and excess fluid volume from the tissue spaces. Therefore, the lymphatic system also plays a central role in controlling (1) the concentration of proteins in the interstitial fluids, (2) the volume of interstitial fluid, and (3) the interstitial fluid pressure. Let us explain how these factors interact. First, remember that small amounts of proteins leak continuously out of the blood capillaries into the interstitium. Only minute amounts, if any, of the leaked proteins return to the circulation by way of the venous ends of the blood capillaries. Therefore, these proteins tend to accumulate in the interstitial fluid, and this in turn increases the colloid osmotic pressure of the interstitial fluids. Second, the increasing colloid osmotic pressure in the interstitial fluid shifts the balance of forces at the blood capillary membranes in favor of fluid filtration into the interstitium. Therefore, in effect, fluid is translocated osmotically outward through the capillary wall by the proteins and into the interstitium, thus increasing both interstitial fluid volume and interstitial fluid pressure. Third, the increasing interstitial fluid pressure greatly increases the rate of lymph flow, as explained previously. This in turn carries away the excess interstitial fluid volume and excess protein that has accumulated in the spaces. Thus, once the interstitial fluid protein concentration reaches a certain level and causes a comparable increase in interstitial fluid volume and interstitial fluid pressure, the return of protein and fluid by way of the lymphatic system becomes great enough to balance exactly

Significance of Negative Interstitial Fluid Pressure as a Means for Holding the Body Tissues Together Traditionally, it has been assumed that the different tissues of the body are held together entirely by connective tissue fibers. However, at many places in the body, connective tissue fibers are very weak or even absent. This occurs particularly at points where tissues slide over one another, such as the skin sliding over the back of the hand or over the face. Yet even at these places, the tissues are held together by the negative interstitial fluid pressure, which is actually a partial vacuum. When the tissues lose their negative pressure, fluid accumulates in the spaces and the condition known as edema occurs. This is discussed in Chapter 25.

Bibliography Dejana E: Endothelial cell-cell junctions: happy together, Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 5:261, 2004. Gashev AA: Physiologic aspects of lymphatic contractile function: current perspectives, Ann N Y Acad Sci 979:178, 2002. Gratton JP, Bernatchez P, Sessa WC: Caveolae and caveolins in the cardiovascular system, Circ Res 94:1408, 2004. Guyton AC: Concept of negative interstitial pressure based on pressures in implanted perforated capsules, Circ Res 12:399, 1963. Guyton AC: Interstitial fluid pressure: II. Pressure-volume curves of interstitial space, Circ Res 16:452, 1965. Guyton AC, Granger HJ, Taylor AE: Interstitial fluid pressure, Physiol Rev 51:527, 1971. Michel CC, Curry FE: Microvascular permeability, Physiol Rev 79:703, 1999. Mehta D, Malik AB: Signaling mechanisms regulating endothelial permeability, Physiol Rev 86:279, 2006. Miyasaka M, Tanaka T: Lymphocyte trafficking across high endothelial venules: dogmas and enigmas, Nat Rev Immunol 4:360, 2004. Parker JC: Hydraulic conductance of lung endothelial phenotypes and Starling safety factors against edema, Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 292:L378, 2007. Parker JC, Townsley MI: Physiological determinants of the pulmonary filtration coefficient, Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 295:L235, 2008. Predescu SA, Predescu DN, Malik AB: Molecular determinants of endothelial transcytosis and their role in endothelial permeability, Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 293:L823, 2007. Oliver G: Lymphatic vasculature development, Nat Rev Immunol 4:35, 2004. Taylor AE, Granger DN: Exchange of macromolecules across the microcirculation. In Renkin EM, Michel CC, editors: Handbook of Physiology, Sec 2, vol IV, Bethesda, MD, 1984, American Physiological Society, pp 467.

189

Unit IV

Summary of Factors That Determine Lymph Flow.  From the previous discussion, one can see that the

the rate of leakage of these into the interstitium from the blood capillaries. Therefore, the quantitative values of all these factors reach a steady state; they will remain balanced at these steady state levels until something changes the rate of leakage of proteins and fluid from the blood capillaries.

This page intentionally left blank

chapter 17

Local Control of Blood Flow in Response to Tissue Needs One of the most fundamental principles of circulatory function is the ability of each tissue to control its own local blood flow in proportion to its metabolic needs. What are some of the specific needs of the tissues for blood flow? The answer to this is manyfold, including the following: 1. Delivery of oxygen to the tissues. 2. Delivery of other nutrients, such as glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids. 3. Removal of carbon dioxide from the tissues. 4. Removal of hydrogen ions from the tissues. 5. Maintenance of proper concentrations of other ions in the tissues. 6. Transport of various hormones and other substances to the different tissues. Certain organs have special requirements. For instance, blood flow to the skin determines heat loss from the body and in this way helps to control body temperature. Also, delivery of adequate quantities of blood plasma to the kidneys allows the kidneys to excrete the waste products of the body and to regulate body fluid volumes and electrolytes. We shall see that these factors exert extreme degrees of local blood flow control and that different tissues place different levels of importance on these factors in controlling blood flow.

Variations in Blood Flow in Different Tissues and Organs.  Note in Table 17-1 the very large blood

flows in some organs—for example, several hundred ml/ min per 100 g of thyroid or adrenal gland tissue and a total blood flow of 1350 ml/min in the liver, which is 95 ml/ min/100 g of liver tissue. Also note the extremely large blood flow through the kidneys—1100 ml/min. This extreme amount of flow

is required for the kidneys to perform their function of cleansing the blood of waste products. Conversely, most surprising is the low blood flow to all the inactive muscles of the body, only a total of 750 ml/min, even though the muscles constitute between 30 and 40 percent of the total body mass. In the resting state, the metabolic activity of the muscles is very low, and so also is the blood flow, only 4 ml/min/100 g. Yet, during heavy exercise, muscle metabolic activity can increase more than 60-fold and the blood flow as much as 20-fold, increasing to as high as 16,000 ml/min in the body’s total muscle vascular bed (or 80 ml/min/100 g of muscle).

Importance of Blood Flow Control by the Local Tissues.  One might ask the simple question: Why

not simply allow a very large blood flow all the time through every tissue of the body, always enough to supply the tissue’s needs whether the activity of the tissue is little or great? The answer is equally simple: To do this would require many times more blood flow than the heart can pump. Experiments have shown that the blood flow to each tissue usually is regulated at the minimal level that will supply the tissue’s requirements—no more, no less. For instance, in tissues for which the most important requirement is delivery of oxygen, the blood flow is always controlled at a level only slightly more than required to maintain full tissue oxygenation but no more than this. By controlling local blood flow in such an exact way, the tissues almost never suffer from oxygen nutritional deficiency and the workload on the heart is kept at a minimum.

Mechanisms of Blood Flow Control Local blood flow control can be divided into two phases: (1) acute control and (2) long-term control. Acute control is achieved by rapid changes in local vasodilation or vasoconstriction of the arterioles, metarterioles, and precapillary sphincters, occurring within seconds to minutes to provide very rapid maintenance of appropriate local tissue blood flow. Long-term control, however, means slow, controlled changes in flow over a period of days, weeks, or even 191

Unit IV

Local and Humoral Control of Tissue Blood Flow

Unit IV  The Circulation Table 17-1  Blood Flow to Different Organs and Tissues Under Basal Conditions Percent of Cardiac Output

ml/min

Brain

14

  700

  50

Heart

 4

  200

  70

Bronchi

 2

  100

  25

Kidneys

22

1100

360   95

Liver

ml/min/100 g of Tissue Weight

27

1350

  Portal

(21)

1050

  Arterial

  (6)

  300

Muscle (inactive state)

15

  750

   4

Bone

 5

  250

   3

Skin (cool weather)

 6

  300

   3

Thyroid gland

 1

   50

160

Adrenal glands

   0.5

   25

300

Other tissues

   3.5

  175

    1.3

  Total

100.0

5000

months. In general, these long-term changes provide even better control of the flow in proportion to the needs of the tissues. These changes come about as a result of an increase or decrease in the physical sizes and numbers of actual blood vessels supplying the tissues.

Acute Control of Local Blood Flow Effect of Tissue Metabolism on Local Blood Flow.  Figure 17-1 shows the approximate acute effect on blood flow of increasing the rate of metabolism in a local tissue, such as in a skeletal muscle. Note that an increase in

metabolism up to eight times normal increases the blood flow acutely about fourfold.

Acute Local Blood Flow Regulation When Oxygen Availability Changes.  One of the most necessary of the

metabolic nutrients is oxygen. Whenever the availability of oxygen to the tissues decreases, such as (1) at high altitude at the top of a high mountain, (2) in pneumonia, (3) in carbon monoxide poisoning (which poisons the ability of hemoglobin to transport oxygen), or (4) in cyanide poisoning (which poisons the ability of the tissues to use oxygen), the blood flow through the tissues increases markedly. Figure 17-2 shows that as the arterial oxygen saturation decreases to about 25 percent of normal, the blood flow through an isolated leg increases about threefold; that is, the blood flow increases almost enough, but not quite enough, to make up for the decreased amount of oxygen in the blood, thus almost maintaining a relatively constant supply of oxygen to the tissues. Total cyanide poisoning of oxygen usage by a local tissue area can cause local blood flow to increase as much as sevenfold, thus demonstrating the extreme effect of oxygen deficiency to increase blood flow. There are two basic theories for the regulation of local blood flow when either the rate of tissue metabolism changes or the availability of oxygen changes. They are (1) the vasodilator theory and (2) the oxygen lack theory.

Vasodilator Theory for Acute Local Blood Flow Regulation—Possible Special Role of Adenosine.  According to this theory, the greater the rate of metabolism or the less the availability of oxygen or some other nutrients to a tissue, the greater the rate of formation of vasodilator substances in the tissue cells. The vasodilator substances then are believed to diffuse through the tissues to the precapillary sphincters, metarterioles, and arterioles to cause dilation. Some of the different vasodilator substances that have been suggested are adenosine,

3 Blood flow (x normal)

Blood flow (x normal)

4

3

2

1

1

Normal level 0

0 0

1

2 3 4 5 6 7 Rate of metabolism (x normal)

8

Figure 17-1  Effect of increasing rate of metabolism on tissue blood flow.

192

2

100

75

50

25

Arterial oxygen saturation (percent)

Figure 17-2  Effect of decreasing arterial oxygen saturation on blood flow through an isolated dog leg.

Chapter 17  Local and Humoral Control of Tissue Blood Flow

Oxygen Lack Theory for Local Blood Flow Control.  Although the vasodilator theory is widely

accepted, several critical facts have made other physiologists favor still another theory, which can be called either the oxygen lack theory or, more accurately, the nutrient lack theory (because other nutrients besides oxygen are involved). Oxygen (and other nutrients as well) is required as one of the metabolic nutrients to cause vascular muscle contraction. Therefore, in the absence of adequate oxygen, it is reasonable to believe that the blood vessels simply would relax and therefore naturally dilate. Also, increased utilization of oxygen in the tissues as a result of increased metabolism theoretically could

decrease the availability of oxygen to the smooth muscle fibers in the local blood vessels, and this, too, would cause local vasodilation. A mechanism by which the oxygen lack theory could operate is shown in Figure 17-3. This figure shows a tissue unit, consisting of a metarteriole with a single sidearm capillary and its surrounding tissue. At the origin of the capillary is a precapillary sphincter, and around the metarteriole are several other smooth muscle fibers. Observing such a tissue under a microscope—for example, in a bat’s wing—one sees that the precapillary sphincters are normally either completely open or completely closed. The number of precapillary sphincters that are open at any given time is roughly proportional to the requirements of the tissue for nutrition. The precapillary sphincters and metarterioles open and close cyclically several times per minute, with the duration of the open phases being proportional to the metabolic needs of the tissues for oxygen. The cyclical opening and closing is called vasomotion. Let us explain how oxygen concentration in the local tissue could regulate blood flow through the area. Because smooth muscle requires oxygen to remain contracted, one might assume that the strength of contraction of the sphincters would increase with an increase in oxygen concentration. Consequently, when the oxygen concentration in the tissue rises above a certain level, the precapillary and metarteriole sphincters presumably would close until the tissue cells consume the excess oxygen. But when the excess oxygen is gone and the oxygen concentration falls low enough, the sphincters would open once more to begin the cycle again. Thus, on the basis of available data, either a vasodilator substance theory or an oxygen lack theory could explain acute local blood flow regulation in response to the metabolic needs of the tissues. Probably the truth lies in a combination of the two mechanisms.

Metarteriole

Precapillary sphincter

Sidearm capillary

Figure 17-3  Diagram of a tissue unit area for explanation of acute local feedback control of blood flow, showing a metarteriole passing through the tissue and a sidearm capillary with its precapillary sphincter for controlling capillary blood flow.

193

Unit IV

­carbon dioxide, adenosine phosphate compounds, histamine, potassium ions, and hydrogen ions. Vasodilator substances may be released from the tissue in response to oxygen deficiency. For instance, experiments have shown that decreased availability of oxygen can cause both adenosine and lactic acid (containing hydrogen ions) to be released into the spaces between the tissue cells; these substances then cause intense acute vasodilation and therefore are responsible, or partially responsible, for the local blood flow regulation. Vasodilator substances, such as carbon dioxide, lactic acid, and potassium ions, tend to increase in the tissues when blood flow is reduced and cell metabolism continues at the same rate, or when cell metabolism is suddenly increased. As the concentration of vasodilator metabolites increases, this causes vasodilation of the arterioles, increasing the tissue blood flow and returning the tissue concentration of the metabolites toward normal. Many physiologists believe that adenosine is an important local vasodilator for controlling local blood flow. For example, minute quantities of adenosine are released from heart muscle cells when coronary blood flow becomes too little, and this causes enough local vasodilation in the heart to return coronary blood flow back to normal. Also, whenever the heart becomes more active than normal and the heart’s metabolism increases an extra amount, this, too, causes increased utilization of oxygen, followed by (1) decreased oxygen concentration in the heart muscle cells with (2) consequent degradation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which (3) increases the release of adenosine. It is believed that much of this adenosine leaks out of the heart muscle cells to cause coronary vasodilation, providing increased coronary blood flow to supply the increased nutrient demands of the active heart. Although research evidence is less clear, many physiologists also have suggested that the same adenosine mechanism is an important controller of blood flow in skeletal muscle and many other tissues, as well as in the heart. It has been difficult, however, to prove that sufficient quantities of any single vasodilator substance, including adenosine, are indeed formed in the tissues to cause all the measured increase in blood flow. It is likely that a combination of several different vasodilators released by the tissues contributes to blood flow regulation.

Unit IV  The Circulation

has been shown that lack of glucose in the perfusing blood can cause local tissue vasodilation. Also, it is possible that this same effect occurs when other nutrients, such as amino acids or fatty acids, are deficient, although this has not been studied adequately. In addition, vasodilation occurs in the vitamin deficiency disease beriberi, in which the patient has deficiencies of the vitamin B substances thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin. In this disease, the peripheral vascular blood flow almost everywhere in the body often increases twofold to threefold. Because all these vitamins are necessary for oxygen-induced phosphorylation, which is required to produce ATP in the tissue cells, one can well understand how deficiency of these vitamins might lead to diminished smooth muscle contractile ability and therefore also local vasodilation.

Special Examples of Acute “Metabolic” Control of Local Blood Flow The mechanisms that we have described thus far for local blood flow control are called “metabolic mechanisms” because all of them function in response to the metabolic needs of the tissues. Two additional special examples of metabolic control of local blood flow are reactive hyperemia and active hyperemia. Reactive Hyperemia.  When the blood supply to a tissue is blocked for a few seconds to as long as an hour or more and then is unblocked, blood flow through the tissue usually increases immediately to four to seven times normal; this increased flow will continue for a few seconds if the block has lasted only a few seconds but sometimes continues for as long as many hours if the blood flow has been stopped for an hour or more. This phenomenon is called reactive hyperemia. Reactive hyperemia is another manifestation of the local “metabolic” blood flow regulation mechanism; that is, lack of flow sets into motion all of those factors that cause vasodilation. After short periods of vascular occlusion, the extra blood flow during the reactive hyperemia phase lasts long enough to repay almost exactly the tissue oxygen deficit that has accrued during the period of occlusion. This mechanism emphasizes the close connection between local blood flow regulation and delivery of oxygen and other nutrients to the tissues. Active Hyperemia.  When any tissue becomes highly active, such as an exercising muscle, a gastrointestinal gland during a hypersecretory period, or even the brain during rapid mental activity, the rate of blood flow through the tissue increases. Here again, by simply applying the basic principles of local blood flow control, one can easily understand this active hyperemia. The increase in local metabolism causes the cells to devour tissue fluid nutrients rapidly and also to release large quantities of vasodilator substances. The result is to dilate the local blood vessels and, therefore, to increase local blood flow. In this way, the active tissue receives the additional 194

nutrients required to sustain its new level of function. As pointed out earlier, active hyperemia in skeletal muscle can increase local muscle blood flow as much as 20-fold during intense exercise.

“Autoregulation” of Blood Flow When the Arterial Pressure Changes from Normal—“Metabolic” and “Myogenic” Mechanisms In any tissue of the body, a rapid increase in arterial pressure causes an immediate rise in blood flow. But, within less than a minute, the blood flow in most tissues returns almost to the normal level, even though the arterial pressure is kept elevated. This return of flow toward normal is called “autoregulation” of blood flow. After autoregulation has occurred, the local blood flow in most body tissues will be related to arterial pressure approximately in accord with the solid “acute” curve in Figure 17-4. Note that between arterial pressures of about 70 mm Hg and 175 mm Hg the blood flow increases only 20 to 30 percent even though the arterial pressure increases 150 percent. For almost a century, two views have been proposed to explain this acute autoregulation mechanism. They have been called (1) the metabolic theory and (2) the myogenic theory. The metabolic theory can be understood easily by applying the basic principles of local blood flow regulation discussed in previous sections. Thus, when the arterial pressure becomes too great, the excess flow provides too much oxygen and too many other nutrients to the tissues and “washes out” the vasodilators released by the tissues. These nutrients (especially oxygen) and decreased tissue levels of vasodilators then cause the blood vessels to constrict and the flow to return nearly to normal despite the increased pressure. The myogenic theory, however, suggests that still another mechanism not related to tissue metabolism explains the phenomenon of autoregulation. This theory is based on the observation that sudden stretch of small blood vessels causes the smooth muscle of the vessel wall 2.5 Blood flow (x normal)

Possible Role of Other Nutrients Besides Oxygen in Control of Local Blood Flow. Under special conditions, it

Acute

2.0 1.5 1.0

Long-term

0.5 0

0

150 50 200 100 Mean arterial pressure (mm Hg)

250

Figure 17-4  Effect of different levels of arterial pressure on blood flow through a muscle. The solid red curve shows the effect if the arterial pressure is raised over a period of a few minutes. The dashed green curve shows the effect if the arterial pressure is raised slowly over a period of many weeks.

Chapter 17  Local and Humoral Control of Tissue Blood Flow

Special Mechanisms for Acute Blood Flow Control in Specific Tissues Although the general mechanisms for local blood flow control discussed thus far are present in almost all tissues of the body, distinctly different mechanisms operate in a few special areas. All mechanisms are discussed throughout this text in relation to specific organs, but two notable ones are as follows: 1. In the kidneys, blood flow control is vested to a great extent in a mechanism called tubuloglomerular feedback, in which the composition of the fluid in the early distal tubule is detected by an epithelial structure of the distal tubule itself called the macula densa. This is located where the distal tubule lies adjacent to the afferent and efferent arterioles at the nephron juxtaglomerular apparatus. When too much fluid filters from the blood through the glomerulus into the tubular system, feedback signals from the macula densa cause constriction of the afferent arterioles, in this way reducing both renal blood flow and glomerular filtration rate back to or near to normal. The details of this mechanism are discussed in Chapter 26.

2. In the brain, in addition to control of blood flow by tissue oxygen concentration, the concentrations of carbon dioxide and hydrogen ions play prominent roles. An increase of either or both of these dilates the cerebral vessels and allows rapid washout of the excess carbon dioxide or hydrogen ions from the brain tissues. This is important because the level of excitability of the brain itself is highly dependent on exact control of both carbon dioxide concentration and hydrogen ion concentration. This special mechanism for cerebral blood flow control is presented in Chapter 61. 3. In the skin, blood flow control is closely linked to regulation of body temperature. Cutaneous and subcutaneous flow regulates heat loss from the body by metering the flow of heat from the core to the surface of the body, where heat is lost to the environment. Skin blood flow is controlled largely by the central nervous system through the sympathetic nerves, as discussed in Chapter 73. Although skin blood flow is only about 3 ml/min/100 g of tissue in cool weather, large changes from that value can occur as needed. When humans are exposed to body heating, skin blood flow may increase manyfold, to as high as 7 to 8 L/min for the entire body. When body temperature is reduced, skin blood flow decreases, falling to barely above zero at very low temperatures. Even with severe vasoconstriction, skin blood flow is usually great enough to meet the basic metabolic demands of the skin.

Control of Tissue Blood Flow by Endothelial-Derived Relaxing or Constricting Factors The endothelial cells lining the blood vessels synthesize several substances that, when released, can affect the degree of relaxation or contraction of the arterial wall. For many of these endothelial-derived relaxing or constrictor factors, the physiological roles are just beginning to be understood and clinical applications have, in most cases, not yet been developed. Nitric Oxide—A Vasodilator Released from Healthy Endothelial Cells.  The most important of the endothelialderived relaxing factors is nitric oxide (NO), a lipophilic gas that is released from endothelial cells in response to a variety of chemical and physical stimuli. Nitric oxide synthase (NOS) enzymes in endothelial cells synthesize NO from arginine and oxygen and by reduction of inorganic nitrate. After diffusing out of the endothelial cell, NO has a half-life in the blood of only about 6 seconds and acts mainly in the local tissues where it is released. NO activates soluble guanylate cyclases in vascular smooth muscle cells (Figure 17-5), resulting in conversion of cyclic guanosine triphosphate (cGTP) to cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) and activation of cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG), which has several actions that cause the blood vessels to relax. When blood flows through the arteries and arterioles, this causes shear stress on the endothelial cells because of viscous drag of the blood against the vascular walls. 195

Unit IV

to contract. Therefore, it has been proposed that when high arterial pressure stretches the vessel, this in turn causes reactive vascular constriction that reduces blood flow nearly back to normal. Conversely, at low pressures, the degree of stretch of the vessel is less, so that the smooth muscle relaxes, reducing vascular resistance and helping to return flow toward normal. The myogenic response is inherent to vascular smooth muscle and can occur in the absence of neural or hormonal influences. It is most pronounced in arterioles but can also be observed in arteries, venules, veins, and even lymphatic vessels. Myogenic contraction is initiated by stretch-induced vascular depolarization, which then rapidly increases calcium ion entry from the extracellular fluid into the cells, causing them to contract. Changes in vascular pressure may also open or close other ion channels that influence vascular contraction. The precise mechanisms by which changes in pressure cause opening or closing of vascular ion channels are still uncertain but likely involve mechanical effects of pressure on extracellular proteins that are tethered to cytoskeleton elements of the vascular wall or to the ion channels themselves. The myogenic mechanism appears to be important in preventing excessive stretch of blood vessel when blood pressure is increased. However, the role of the myogenic mechanism in blood flow regulation is unclear because this pressure-sensing mechanism cannot directly detect changes in blood flow in the tissue. Indeed, metabolic factors appear to override the myogenic mechanism in circumstances where the metabolic demands of the tissues are significantly increased, such as during vigorous muscle exercise, which can cause dramatic increases in skeletal muscle blood flow.

Unit IV  The Circulation Blood

Receptor-dependent activation

Shear stress eNOS Endothelial cells

O2 + L-Arginine

NO + L-Citrulline

Soluble guanylate cyclase Vascular smooth muscle

cGTP

cGMP

Relaxation

Figure 17-5  Nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) enzyme in endothelial cells synthesizes nitric oxide (NO) from arginine and oxygen. NO ­activates soluble guanylate cyclases in vascular smooth muscle cells, resulting in conversion of cyclic guanosine triphosphate (cGTP) to cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) which ultimately causes the blood vessels to relax.

This stress contorts the endothelial cells in the direction of flow and causes significant increase in the release of NO. The NO then relaxes the blood vessels. This is fortunate because the local metabolic mechanisms for controlling tissue blood flow dilate mainly the very small arteries and arterioles in each tissue. Yet, when blood flow through a microvascular portion of the circulation increases, this secondarily stimulates the release of NO from larger vessels due to increased flow and shear stress in these vessels. The released NO increases the diameters of the larger upstream blood vessels whenever microvascular blood flow increases downstream. Without such a response, the effectiveness of local blood flow control would be decreased because a significant part of the resistance to blood flow is in the upstream small arteries. NO synthesis and release from endothelial cells are also stimulated by some vasoconstrictors, such as angiotensin II, which bind to specific receptors on endothelial cells. The increased NO release protects against excessive vasoconstriction. When endothelial cells are damaged by chronic hypertension or atherosclerosis, impaired NO synthesis may contribute to excessive vasoconstriction and worsening of the hypertension and endothelial damage, which, if untreated, may eventually cause vascular injury and damage to vulnerable tissues such as the heart, kidneys, and brain. Even before NO was discovered, clinicians used nitroglycerin, amyl nitrates, and other nitrate derivatives to treat patients suffering from angina pectoris, severe chest pain caused by ischemia of the heart muscle. These drugs, when broken down chemically, release NO and evoke dilation of blood vessels throughout the body, including the coronary blood vessels. Other important applications of NO physiology and pharmacology are the development and clinical use of drugs (e.g., sildenafil) that inhibit cGMP specific phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5), an enzyme that degrades cGMP. By preventing the degradation of cGMP the PDE-5 inhibi196

tors effectively prolong the actions of NO to cause vasodilation. The primary clinical use of the PDE-5 inhibitors is to treat erectile dysfunction. Penile erection is caused by parasympathetic nerve impulses through the pelvic nerves to the penis, where the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and NO are released. By preventing the degradation of NO, the PDE-5 inhibitors enhance the dilation of the blood vessels in the penis and aid in erection, as discussed in Chapter 80. Endothelin—A Powerful Vasoconstrictor Released from Damaged Endothelium.  Endothelial cells also release vasoconstrictor substances. The most important of these is endothelin, a large 21 amino acid peptide that requires only nanogram quantities to cause powerful vasoconstriction. This substance is present in the endothelial cells of all or most blood vessels but greatly increases when the vessels are injured. The usual stimulus for release is damage to the endothelium, such as that caused by crushing the tissues or injecting a traumatizing chemical into the blood vessel. After severe blood vessel damage, release of local endothelin and subsequent vasoconstriction helps to prevent extensive bleeding from arteries as large as 5 millimeters in diameter that might have been torn open by crushing injury. Increased endothelin release is also believed to contribute to vasoconstriction when the endothelium is damaged by hypertension. Drugs that block endothelin receptors have been used to treat pulmonary hypertension but have not generally been used for lowering blood pressure in patients with systemic arterial hypertension.

Long-Term Blood Flow Regulation Thus far, most of the mechanisms for local blood flow regulation that we have discussed act within a few seconds to a few minutes after the local tissue conditions have changed. Yet, even after full activation of these acute mechanisms, the blood flow usually is adjusted only about three quarters of the way to the exact additional

Chapter 17  Local and Humoral Control of Tissue Blood Flow

Mechanism of Long-Term Regulation—Change in “Tissue Vascularity” The mechanism of long-term local blood flow regulation is principally to change the amount of vascularity of the tissues. For instance, if the metabolism in a tissue is increased for a prolonged period, vascularity increases, a process generally called angiogenesis; if the metabolism is decreased, vascularity decreases. Figure 17-6 shows the large increase in the number of capillaries in a rat anterior tibialis muscle that was stimulated electrically to contract for short periods of time each day for 30 days, compared with the unstimulated muscle in the other leg of the animal. Thus, there is actual physical reconstruction of the tissue vasculature to meet the needs of the tissues. This reconstruction occurs rapidly (within days) in young animals. It also occurs rapidly in new growth tissue, such as in scar tissue and cancerous tissue; however, it occurs much slower in old, well-established tissues. Therefore, the time required for long-term regulation to take place may be only a few days in the neonate or as long as months in the elderly person. Furthermore, the final degree of response is much better in younger tissues than in older, so that in the neonate, the vascularity will adjust to match almost exactly the needs of the tissue for blood flow, whereas in

Unit IV

requirements of the tissues. For instance, when the arterial pressure suddenly increases from 100 to 150 mm Hg, the blood flow increases almost instantaneously about 100 percent. Then, within 30 seconds to 2 minutes, the flow decreases back to about 10 to 15 percent above the original control value. This illustrates the rapidity of the acute mechanisms for local blood flow regulation, but at the same time, it demonstrates that the regulation is still incomplete because there remains a 10 to 15 percent excess blood flow. However, over a period of hours, days, and weeks, a long-term type of local blood flow regulation develops in addition to the acute control. This long-term regulation gives far more complete control of blood flow. For instance, in the aforementioned example, if the arterial pressure remains at 150 mm Hg indefinitely, within a few weeks the blood flow through the tissues gradually approaches almost exactly the normal flow level. Figure 17-4 shows by the dashed green curve the extreme effectiveness of this long-term local blood flow regulation. Note that once the long-term regulation has had time to occur, long-term changes in arterial pressure between 50 and 250 mm Hg have little effect on the rate of local blood flow. Long-term regulation of blood flow is especially important when the metabolic demands of a tissue change. Thus, if a tissue becomes chronically overactive and therefore requires increased quantities of oxygen and other nutrients, the arterioles and capillary vessels usually increase both in number and size within a few weeks to match the needs of the tissue—unless the circulatory system has become pathological or too old to respond.

A

1µm

B Figure 17-6  Large increase in the number of capillaries (white dots) in a rat anterior tibialis muscle that was stimulated electrically to contract for short periods of time each day for 30 days (B), compared with the unstimulated muscle (A).The 30 days of intermittent electrical stimulation converted the predominantly fast twitch, glycolytic anterior tibialis muscle to a predominantly slow twitch, oxidative muscle with increased numbers of capillaries and decreased fiber diameter as shown. (Photo courtesy Dr. Thomas Adair.)

older tissues, vascularity frequently lags far behind the needs of the tissues. Role of Oxygen in Long-Term Regulation.  Oxygen is important not only for acute control of local blood flow but also for long-term control. One example of this is increased vascularity in tissues of animals that live at high altitudes, where the atmospheric oxygen is low. A second example is that fetal chicks hatched in low oxygen have up to twice as much tissue blood vessel conductivity as is normally true. This same effect is also dramatically demonstrated in premature human babies put into oxygen tents for therapeutic purposes. The excess oxygen causes almost immediate cessation of new vascular growth in the retina of the premature baby’s eyes and even causes degeneration of some of the small vessels that already have formed. Then when the infant is taken out of the oxygen tent, there is explosive overgrowth of new vessels 197

Unit IV  The Circulation

to make up for the sudden decrease in available oxygen; indeed, there is often so much overgrowth that the retinal vessels grow out from the retina into the eye’s vitreous humor and eventually cause blindness. (This condition is called retrolental fibroplasia.)

Importance of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor in Formation of New Blood Vessels A dozen or more factors that increase growth of new blood vessels have been found, almost all of which are small peptides. Three of those that have been best characterized are vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), fibroblast growth factor, and angiogenin, each of which has been isolated from tissues that have inadequate blood supply. Presumably, it is deficiency of tissue oxygen or other nutrients, or both, that leads to formation of the vascular growth factors (also called “angiogenic factors”). Essentially all the angiogenic factors promote new vessel growth in the same way. They cause new vessels to sprout from other small vessels. The first step is dissolution of the basement membrane of the endothelial cells at the point of sprouting. This is followed by rapid reproduction of new endothelial cells that stream outward through the vessel wall in extended cords directed toward the source of the angiogenic factor. The cells in each cord continue to divide and rapidly fold over into a tube. Next, the tube connects with another tube budding from another donor vessel (another arteriole or venule) and forms a capillary loop through which blood begins to flow. If the flow is great enough, smooth muscle cells eventually invade the wall, so some of the new vessels eventually grow to be new arterioles or venules or perhaps even larger vessels. Thus, angiogenesis explains the manner in which metabolic factors in local tissues can cause growth of new vessels. Certain other substances, such as some steroid hormones, have exactly the opposite effect on small blood vessels, occasionally even causing dissolution of vascular cells and disappearance of vessels. Therefore, blood vessels can also be made to disappear when not needed. Peptides produced in the tissues can also block the growth of new blood vessels. For example, angiostatin, a fragment of the protein plasminogen, is a naturally occurring inhibitor of angiogenesis. Endostatin is another antiangiogenic peptide that is derived from the breakdown of collagen type XVII. Although the precise physiological functions of these antiangiogenic substances are still unknown, there is great interest in their potential use in arresting blood vessel growth in cancerous tumors and therefore preventing the large increases in blood flow needed to sustain the nutrient supply of rapidly growing tumors. Vascularity Is Determined by Maximum Blood Flow Need, Not by Average Need.  An especially valuable characteristic of long-term vascular control is that vascularity is determined mainly by the maximum level of blood flow need rather than by average need. For instance, during heavy exercise the need for whole 198

body blood flow often increases to six to eight times the resting blood flow. This great excess of flow may not be required for more than a few minutes each day. Nevertheless, even this short need can cause enough VEGF to be formed by the muscles to increase their vascularity as required. Were it not for this capability, every time that a person attempted heavy exercise, the muscles would fail to receive the required nutrients, especially the required oxygen, so that the muscles simply would fail to contract. However, after extra vascularity does develop, the extra blood vessels normally remain mainly vasoconstricted, opening to allow extra flow only when appropriate local stimuli such as oxygen lack, nerve vasodilatory stimuli, or other stimuli call forth the required extra flow.

Development of Collateral Circulation— a Phenomenon of Long-Term Local Blood Flow Regulation When an artery or a vein is blocked in virtually any tissue of the body, a new vascular channel usually develops around the blockage and allows at least partial resupply of blood to the affected tissue. The first stage in this process is dilation of small vascular loops that already connect the vessel above the blockage to the vessel below. This dilation occurs within the first minute or two, indicating that the dilation is likely mediated by metabolic factors that relax the muscle fibers of the small vessels involved. After this initial opening of collateral vessels, the blood flow often is still less than one quarter that is needed to supply all the tissue needs. However, further opening occurs within the ensuing hours, so within 1 day as much as half the tissue needs may be met, and within a few days the blood flow is usually sufficient to meet the tissue needs. The collateral vessels continue to grow for many months thereafter, almost always forming multiple small collateral channels rather than one single large vessel. Under resting conditions, the blood flow usually returns very near to normal, but the new channels seldom become large enough to supply the blood flow needed during strenuous tissue activity. Thus, the development of collateral vessels follows the usual principles of both acute and long-term local blood flow control, the acute control being rapid metabolic dilation, followed chronically by growth and enlargement of new vessels over a period of weeks and months. The most important example of the development of collateral blood vessels occurs after thrombosis of one of the coronary arteries. Almost all people by the age of 60 years have had at least one of the smaller branch coronary vessels closed, or at least partially occluded. Yet most people do not know that this has happened because collaterals have developed rapidly enough to prevent myocardial damage. It is in those other instances in which coronary insufficiency occurs too rapidly or too severely for collaterals to develop that serious heart attacks occur.

Chapter 17  Local and Humoral Control of Tissue Blood Flow

Humoral Control of the Circulation

Vasoconstrictor Agents Norepinephrine and Epinephrine.  Norepinephrine

is an especially powerful vasoconstrictor hormone; epinephrine is less so and in some tissues even causes mild vasodilation. (A special example of vasodilation caused by epinephrine occurs to dilate the coronary arteries during increased heart activity.) When the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated in most or all parts of the body during stress or exercise, the sympathetic nerve endings in the individual tissues release norepinephrine, which excites the heart and contracts the veins and arterioles. In addition, the sympathetic nerves to the adrenal medullae cause these glands to secrete both norepinephrine and epinephrine into the blood. These hormones then circulate to all areas of the body and cause almost the same effects on the circulation as direct sympathetic stimulation, thus providing a dual system of control: (1) direct nerve stimulation and (2) indirect effects of norepinephrine and/or epinephrine in the circulating blood.

Angiotensin II.  Angiotensin II is another powerful vasoconstrictor substance. As little as one millionth of a gram can increase the arterial pressure of a human being 50 mm Hg or more. The effect of angiotensin II is to constrict powerfully the small arterioles. If this occurs in an isolated tissue area, the blood flow to that area can be severely depressed. However, the real importance of angiotensin II is that it normally acts on many of the arterioles of the body at the same time to increase the total peripheral resistance, thereby increasing the arterial pressure. Thus, this hormone plays an integral role in the regulation of arterial pressure, as is discussed in detail in Chapter 19. Vasopressin.  Vasopressin, also called antidiuretic hor-

mone, is even more powerful than angiotensin II as a vasoconstrictor, thus making it one of the body’s most potent vascular constrictor substances. It is formed in nerve cells in the hypothalamus of the brain (see Chapters 28 and 75) but is then transported downward by nerve axons to the posterior pituitary gland, where it is finally secreted into the blood. It is clear that vasopressin could have enormous effects on circulatory function. Yet normally, only minute amounts of vasopressin are secreted, so most physiologists have

Vasodilator Agents Bradykinin.  Several substances called kinins cause

powerful vasodilation when formed in the blood and tissue fluids of some organs. The kinins are small polypeptides that are split away by proteolytic enzymes from alpha2-globulins in the plasma or tissue fluids. A proteolytic enzyme of particular importance for this purpose is kallikrein, which is present in the blood and tissue fluids in an inactive form. This inactive kallikrein is activated by maceration of the blood, by tissue inflammation, or by other similar chemical or physical effects on the blood or tissues. As kallikrein becomes activated, it acts immediately on alpha2-globulin to release a kinin called kallidin that is then converted by tissue enzymes into bradykinin. Once formed, bradykinin persists for only a few minutes because it is inactivated by the enzyme carboxypeptidase or by converting enzyme, the same enzyme that also plays an essential role in activating angiotensin, as discussed in Chapter 19. The activated kallikrein enzyme is destroyed by a kallikrein inhibitor also present in the body fluids. Bradykinin causes both powerful arteriolar dilation and increased capillary permeability. For instance, injection of 1 microgram of bradykinin into the brachial artery of a person increases blood flow through the arm as much as sixfold, and even smaller amounts injected locally into tissues can cause marked local edema resulting from increase in capillary pore size. There is reason to believe that kinins play special roles in regulating blood flow and capillary leakage of fluids in inflamed tissues. It also is believed that bradykinin plays a normal role to help regulate blood flow in the skin, as well as in the salivary and gastrointestinal glands.

Histamine.  Histamine is released in essentially every tissue of the body if the tissue becomes damaged or inflamed or is the subject of an allergic reaction. Most of the histamine is derived from mast cells in the damaged tissues and from basophils in the blood. Histamine has a powerful vasodilator effect on the arterioles and, like bradykinin, has the ability to increase greatly capillary porosity, allowing leakage of both fluid and plasma protein into the tissues. In many pathological conditions, the intense arteriolar dilation and increased capillary porosity produced by histamine cause tremendous quantities of fluid to leak out of the circulation into the ­tissues, 199

Unit IV

Humoral control of the circulation means control by substances secreted or absorbed into the body fluids— such as hormones and locally produced factors. Some of these substances are formed by special glands and transported in the blood throughout the entire body. Others are formed in local tissue areas and cause only local circulatory effects. Among the most important of the humoral factors that affect circulatory function are the following.

thought that vasopressin plays little role in vascular control. However, experiments have shown that the concentration of circulating blood vasopressin after severe hemorrhage can increase enough to raise the arterial pressure as much as 60 mm Hg. In many instances, this can, by itself, bring the arterial pressure almost back up to normal. Vasopressin has a major function to increase greatly water reabsorption from the renal tubules back into the blood (discussed in Chapter 28), and therefore to help control body fluid volume. That is why this hormone is also called antidiuretic hormone.

Unit IV  The Circulation

i­nducing edema. The local vasodilatory and edema-producing effects of histamine are especially prominent during allergic reactions and are discussed in Chapter 34.

Vascular Control by Ions and Other Chemical Factors Many different ions and other chemical factors can either dilate or constrict local blood vessels. Most of them have little function in overall regulation of the circulation, but some specific effects are: 1. An increase in calcium ion concentration causes vasoconstriction. This results from the general effect of calcium to stimulate smooth muscle contraction, as discussed in Chapter 8. 2. An increase in potassium ion concentration, within the physiological range, causes vasodilation. This results from the ability of potassium ions to inhibit smooth muscle contraction. 3. An increase in magnesium ion concentration causes powerful vasodilation because magnesium ions inhibit smooth muscle contraction. 4. An increase in hydrogen ion concentration (decrease in pH) causes dilation of the arterioles. Conversely, slight decrease in hydrogen ion concentration causes arteriolar constriction. 5. Anions that have significant effects on blood vessels are acetate and citrate, both of which cause mild degrees of vasodilation. 6. An increase in carbon dioxide concentration causes moderate vasodilation in most tissues but marked vasodilation in the brain. Also, carbon dioxide in the blood, acting on the brain vasomotor center, has an extremely powerful indirect effect, transmitted through the sympathetic nervous vasoconstrictor system, to cause widespread vasoconstriction throughout the body.

Most Vasodilators or Vasoconstrictors Have Little Effect on Long-Term Blood Flow Unless They Alter Metabolic Rate of the Tissues.  In most cases, tissue blood

flow and cardiac output (the sum of flow to all of the body’s tissues) are not substantially altered, except for a day or two, in experimental studies when one chronically infuses large amounts of powerful vasoconstrictors such as angiotensin II or vasodilators such as bradykinin. Why is blood flow not significantly altered in most tissues even in the presence of very large amounts of these vasoactive agents?

200

To answer this question we must return to one of the fundamental principles of circulatory function that we previously discussed—the ability of each tissue to autoregulate its own blood flow according to the metabolic needs and other functions of the tissue. Administration of a powerful vasoconstrictor, such as angiotensin II, may cause transient decreases in tissue blood flow and cardiac output but usually has little long-term effect if it does not alter metabolic rate of the tissues. Likewise, most vasodilators cause only short-term changes in tissue blood flow and cardiac output if they do not alter tissue metabolism. Therefore, blood flow is generally regulated according to the specific needs of the tissues as long as the arterial pressure is adequate to perfuse the tissues.

Bibliography Adair TH: Growth regulation of the vascular system: an emerging role for adenosine, Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 289:R283, 2005. Campbell WB, Falck JR: Arachidonic acid metabolites as endotheliumderived hyperpolarizing factors, Hypertension 49:590, 2007. Drummond HA, Grifoni SC, Jernigan NL: A new trick for an old dogma: ENaC proteins as mechanotransducers in vascular smooth muscle, Physiology (Bethesda) 23:23, 2008. Dhaun N, Goddard J, Kohan DE, et al: Role of endothelin-1 in clinical hypertension: 20 years on, Hypertension 52:452, 2008. Ferrara N, Gerber HP, LeCouter J: The biology of VEGF and its receptors, Nat Med 9:669, 2003. Folkman J: Angiogenesis, Annu Rev Med 57:1, 2006. Folkman J: Angiogenesis: an organizing principle for drug discovery? Nat Rev Drug Discov 6:273, 2007. Guyton AC, Coleman TG, Granger HJ: Circulation: overall regulation, Annu Rev Physiol 34:13, 1972. Hall JE, Brands MW, Henegar JR: Angiotensin II and long-term arterial pressure regulation: the overriding dominance of the kidney, J Am Soc Nephrol 10(Suppl 12):S258, 1999. Heerkens EH, Izzard AS, Heagerty AM: Integrins, vascular remodeling, and hypertension, Hypertension 49:1, 2007. Hester RL, Hammer LW: Venular-arteriolar communication in the regulation of blood flow, Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 282:R1280, 2002. Hodnett BL, Hester RL: Regulation of muscle blood flow in obesity, Microcirculation 14:273, 2007. Horowitz A, Simons M: Branching morphogenesis, Circ Res 103:784, 2008. Humphrey JD: Mechanisms of arterial remodeling in hypertension: coupled roles of wall shear and intramural stress, Hypertension 52:195, 2008. Jain RK, di Tomaso E, Duda DG, et al: Angiogenesis in brain tumours, Nat Rev Neurosci 8:610, 2007. Keeley EC, Mehrad B, Strieter RM: Chemokines as mediators of neovascularization, Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 28:1928, 2008. Renkin EM: Control of microcirculation and blood-tissue exchange. In Renkin EM, Michel CC (eds.): Handbook of Physiology, Sec 2, vol IV, Bethesda, 1984, American Physiological Society, pp 627. Roman RJ: P-450 metabolites of arachidonic acid in the control of cardiovascular function, Physiol Rev 82:131, 2002.

chapter 18

Nervous Regulation of the Circulation As discussed in Chapter 17, adjustment of blood flow in the tissues and organs of the body is mainly the function of local tissue control mechanisms. In this chapter we discuss how nervous control of the circulation has more global functions, such as redistributing blood flow to different areas of the body, increasing or decreasing pumping activity by the heart, and providing very rapid control of systemic arterial pressure. The nervous system controls the circulation almost entirely through the autonomic nervous system. The total function of this system is presented in Chapter 60, and this subject was also introduced in Chapter 17. For our present discussion, we will consider additional specific anatomical and functional characteristics, as follows.

Autonomic Nervous System By far the most important part of the autonomic nervous system for regulating the circulation is the sympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system, however, contributes importantly to regulation of heart function, as described later in the chapter.

Sympathetic Nervous System.  Figure 18-1 shows the anatomy of sympathetic nervous control of the circulation. Sympathetic vasomotor nerve fibers leave the spinal cord through all the thoracic spinal nerves and through the first one or two lumbar spinal nerves. They then pass immediately into a sympathetic chain, one of which lies on each side of the vertebral column. Next, they pass by two routes to the circulation: (1) through specific sympathetic nerves that innervate mainly the vasculature of the internal viscera and the heart, as shown on the right side of Figure 18-1, and (2) almost immediately into peripheral portions of the spinal nerves distributed to the vasculature of the peripheral areas. The precise pathways of these fibers in the spinal cord and in the sympathetic chains are discussed in Chapter 60. Sympathetic Innervation of the Blood Vessels.  Figure 18-2 shows distribution of sympathetic nerve fibers to the blood vessels, demonstrating that in most

tissues all the vessels except the capillaries are innervated. Precapillary sphincters and metarterioles are innervated in some tissues, such as the mesenteric blood vessels, although their sympathetic innervation is usually not as dense as in the small arteries, arterioles, and veins. The innervation of the small arteries and arterioles allows sympathetic stimulation to increase resistance to blood flow and thereby to decrease rate of blood flow through the tissues. The innervation of the large vessels, particularly of the veins, makes it possible for sympathetic stimulation to decrease the volume of these vessels. This can push blood into the heart and thereby play a major role in regulation of heart pumping, as we explain later in this and subsequent chapters.

Sympathetic Nerve Fibers to the Heart.  Sympathetic

fibers also go directly to the heart, as shown in Figure 18-1 and as discussed in Chapter 9. It should be recalled that sympathetic stimulation markedly increases the activity of the heart, both increasing the heart rate and enhancing its strength and volume of pumping.

Parasympathetic Control of Heart Function, Especially Heart Rate.  Although the parasympathetic nervous system is exceedingly important for many other autonomic functions of the body, such as control of multiple gastrointestinal actions, it plays only a minor role in regulation of vascular function in most tissues. Its most important circulatory effect is to control heart rate by way of parasympathetic nerve fibers to the heart in the vagus nerves, shown in Figure 18-1 by the dashed red line from the brain medulla directly to the heart. The effects of parasympathetic stimulation on heart function were discussed in detail in Chapter 9. Principally, parasympathetic stimulation causes a marked decrease in heart rate and a slight decrease in heart muscle contractility.

Sympathetic Vasoconstrictor System and Its Control by the Central Nervous System The sympathetic nerves carry tremendous numbers of vasoconstrictor nerve fibers and only a few vasodilator fibers. The vasoconstrictor fibers are distributed to ­essentially all 201

Unit IV

Nervous Regulation of the Circulation, and Rapid Control of Arterial Pressure

Unit IV  The Circulation

Vasomotor center

Sympathetic chain

Blood vessels Vagus

Heart

Vasoconstrictor Cardioinhibitor Vasodilator

Blood vessels

Figure 18-1  Anatomy of sympathetic nervous control of the circulation. Also shown by the dashed red line, a vagus nerve that carries parasympathetic signals to the heart.

segments of the circulation, but more to some tissues than others. This sympathetic vasoconstrictor effect is especially powerful in the kidneys, intestines, spleen, and skin but much less potent in skeletal muscle and the brain.

Arteries Arterioles

Sympathetic vasoconstriction Capillaries

Veins

Venules

Figure 18-2  Sympathetic innervation of the systemic circulation.

202

Vasomotor Center in the Brain and Its Control of the Vasoconstrictor System.  Located bilaterally mainly in the reticular substance of the medulla and of the lower third of the pons is an area called the vasomotor center, shown in Figures 18-1 and 18-3. This center transmits parasympathetic impulses through the vagus nerves to the heart and transmits sympathetic impulses through the spinal cord and peripheral sympathetic nerves to virtually all arteries, arterioles, and veins of the body. Although the total organization of the vasomotor center is still unclear, experiments have made it possible to identify certain important areas in this center, as follows: 1. A vasoconstrictor area located bilaterally in the anterolateral portions of the upper medulla. The neurons originating in this area distribute their fibers to all levels of the spinal cord, where they excite preganglionic vasoconstrictor neurons of the sympathetic nervous system.

Chapter 18  Nervous Regulation of the Circulation, and Rapid Control of Arterial Pressure

3. A sensory area located bilaterally in the tractus solitarius in the posterolateral portions of the medulla and lower pons. The neurons of this area receive sensory nerve signals from the circulatory system mainly through the vagus and glossopharyngeal nerves, and output signals from this sensory area then help to control activities of both the vasoconstrictor and vasodilator areas of the vasomotor center, thus providing “reflex” control of many circulatory functions. An example is the baroreceptor reflex for controlling arterial pressure, which we describe later in this chapter. Continuous Partial Constriction of the Blood Vessels Is Normally Caused by Sympathetic Vasoconstrictor Tone.  Under normal conditions, the vasoconstrictor area of the vasomotor center transmits signals continuously to the sympathetic vasoconstrictor nerve fibers over the entire body, causing slow firing of these fibers at a rate of about one half to two impulses per second. This continual firing is called sympathetic vasoconstrictor tone. These impulses normally maintain a partial state of contraction in the blood vessels, called vasomotor tone. Figure 18-4 demonstrates the significance of vasoconstrictor tone. In the experiment of this figure, total spinal anesthesia was administered to an animal. This blocked all transmission of sympathetic nerve impulses from the spinal cord to the periphery. As a result, the arterial ­pressure fell from 100 to 50 mm Hg, demonstrating the effect of losing vasoconstrictor tone throughout the body. A few minutes later, a small amount of the hormone norepinephrine was injected into the blood (norepinephrine is the principal vasoconstrictor hormonal substance secreted at the endings of the sympathetic vasoconstrictor nerve fibers throughout the body). As this injected hormone was transported in the blood to blood vessels, the vessels once again became constricted and the arterial pressure rose to a level even greater than normal for 1 to 3 minutes, until the norepinephrine was destroyed. Control of Heart Activity by the Vasomotor Center.  At the same time that the vasomotor center regulates the amount of vascular constriction, it also controls heart activity. The lateral portions of the vasomotor center transmit excitatory impulses through the sympathetic nerve fibers to the heart when there is need to increase heart rate and contractility. Conversely, when there is need to decrease heart pumping, the medial portion of the vasomotor center sends signals to the adjacent dorsal motor nuclei of the vagus nerves, which then transmit parasympathetic impulses through the vagus nerves to the heart to decrease heart rate and heart contractility. Therefore,

the vasomotor center can either increase or decrease heart activity. Heart rate and strength of heart contraction ordinarily increase when vasoconstriction occurs and ordinarily decrease when vasoconstriction is inhibited. Control of the Vasomotor Center by Higher Nervous Centers.  Large numbers of small neurons located throughout the reticular substance of the pons, mesencephalon, and diencephalon can either excite or inhibit the vasomotor center. This reticular substance is shown in Figure 18-3 by the rose-colored area. In general, the neurons in the more lateral and superior portions of the reticular substance cause excitation, whereas the more medial and inferior portions cause inhibition. The hypothalamus plays a special role in controlling the vasoconstrictor system because it can exert either powerful excitatory or inhibitory effects on the vasomotor center. The posterolateral portions of the hypothalamus cause mainly excitation, whereas the anterior portion can cause either mild excitation or inhibition, depending on the precise part of the anterior hypothalamus stimulated. Many parts of the cerebral cortex can also excite or inhibit the vasomotor center. Stimulation of the motor cortex, for instance, excites the vasomotor center because of impulses transmitted downward into the hypothalamus and then to the vasomotor center. Also, stimulation of the anterior temporal lobe, the orbital areas of the frontal cortex, the anterior part of the cingulate gyrus, the amygdala, the septum, and the hippocampus can all either excite or inhibit the vasomotor center, depending on the precise portions of these areas that are stimulated and on the intensity of stimulus. Thus, widespread basal areas of the brain can have profound effects on cardiovascular function.

Cingulate

Motor

Reticular substance Mesencephalon

Orbital

Temporal Pons Medulla { VASODILATOR VASOCONSTRICTOR

VASOMOTOR CENTER

Figure 18-3  Areas of the brain that play important roles in the nervous regulation of the circulation. The dashed lines represent inhibitory pathways.

203

Unit IV

2. A vasodilator area located bilaterally in the anterolateral portions of the lower half of the medulla. The fibers from these neurons project upward to the vasoconstrictor area just described; they inhibit the vasoconstrictor activity of this area, thus causing vasodilation.

Unit IV  The Circulation

Arterial pressure (mm Hg)

150 125

Total spinal anesthesia

100 75 50 Injection of norepinephrine 25 0

0

5

10 Minutes

15

20

25

Figure 18-4  Effect of total spinal anesthesia on the arterial pressure, showing marked decrease in pressure resulting from loss of “vasomotor tone.”

Norepinephrine—The Sympathetic Vasoconstrictor Transmitter Substance.  The substance secreted at the endings of the vasoconstrictor nerves is almost entirely norepinephrine, which acts directly on the alpha adrenergic receptors of the vascular smooth muscle to cause vasoconstriction, as discussed in Chapter 60. Adrenal Medullae and Their Relation to the Sympathetic Vasoconstrictor System.  Sympathetic impulses are transmitted to the adrenal medullae at the same time that they are transmitted to the blood vessels. They cause the medullae to secrete both epinephrine and norepinephrine into the circulating blood. These two hormones are carried in the blood stream to all parts of the body, where they act directly on all blood vessels, usually to cause vasoconstriction. In a few tissues epinephrine causes vasodilation because it also has a “beta” adrenergic receptor stimulatory effect, which dilates rather than constricts certain vessels, as discussed in Chapter 60. Sympathetic Vasodilator System and Its Control by the Central Nervous System.  The sympathetic nerves to skeletal muscles carry sympathetic vasodilator fibers, as well as constrictor fibers. In some animals such as the cat, these dilator fibers release acetylcholine, not norepinephrine, at their endings, although in primates, the vasodilator effect is believed to be caused by epinephrine exciting specific beta-adrenergic receptors in the muscle vasculature. The pathway for central nervous system control of the vasodilator system is shown by the dashed lines in Figure 18-3. The principal area of the brain controlling this system is the anterior hypothalamus. Possible Unimportance of the Sympathetic Vasodilator System.  It is doubtful that the sympathetic vasodilator system plays a major role in the control of the circulation in the human being because complete block of the sympathetic nerves to the muscles hardly affects the ability of

204

these muscles to control their own blood flow in response to their needs. Yet some experiments suggest that at the onset of exercise, the sympathetic vasodilator system might cause initial vasodilation in skeletal muscles to allow anticipatory increase in blood flow even before the muscles require increased nutrients. Emotional Fainting—Vasovagal Syncope.  A particularly interesting vasodilatory reaction occurs in people who experience intense emotional disturbances that cause fainting. In this case, the muscle vasodilator system becomes activated, and at the same time, the vagal cardioinhibitory center transmits strong signals to the heart to slow the heart rate markedly. The arterial pressure falls rapidly, which reduces blood flow to the brain and causes the person to lose consciousness. This overall effect is called vasovagal syncope. Emotional fainting begins with disturbing thoughts in the cerebral cortex. The pathway probably then goes to the vasodilatory center of the anterior hypothalamus next to the vagal centers of the medulla, to the heart through the vagus nerves, and also through the spinal cord to the sympathetic vasodilator nerves of the muscles.

Role of the Nervous System in Rapid Control of Arterial Pressure One of the most important functions of nervous control of the circulation is its capability to cause rapid increases in arterial pressure. For this purpose, the entire vasoconstrictor and cardioaccelerator functions of the sympathetic nervous system are stimulated together. At the same time, there is reciprocal inhibition of parasympathetic vagal inhibitory signals to the heart. Thus, three major changes occur simultaneously, each of which helps to increase arterial pressure. They are as follows:

Chapter 18  Nervous Regulation of the Circulation, and Rapid Control of Arterial Pressure

Rapidity of Nervous Control of Arterial Pressure.  An especially important characteristic of nervous control of arterial pressure is its rapidity of response, beginning within seconds and often increasing the pressure to two times normal within 5 to 10 seconds. Conversely, sudden inhibition of nervous cardiovascular stimulation can decrease the arterial pressure to as little as one-half normal within 10 to 40 seconds. Therefore, nervous control of arterial pressure is by far the most rapid of all our mechanisms for pressure control.

Increase in Arterial Pressure During Muscle Exercise and Other Types of Stress An important example of the ability of the nervous system to increase the arterial pressure is the increase in pressure that occurs during muscle exercise. During heavy exercise, the muscles require greatly increased blood flow. Part of this increase results from local vasodilation of the muscle vasculature caused by increased metabolism of the muscle cells, as explained in Chapter 17. Additional increase results from simultaneous elevation of arterial pressure caused by sympathetic stimulation of the overall circulation during exercise. In most heavy exercise, the ­arterial pressure rises about 30 to 40 percent, which increases blood flow almost an additional twofold. The increase in arterial pressure during exercise results mainly from the following effect: At the same time that the motor areas of the brain become activated to cause exercise, most of the reticular activating system of the brain stem is also activated, which includes greatly increased stimulation of the vasoconstrictor and cardioacceleratory areas of the vasomotor center. These increase the arterial

pressure instantaneously to keep pace with the increase in muscle activity. In many other types of stress besides muscle exercise, a similar rise in pressure can also occur. For instance, during extreme fright, the arterial pressure sometimes rises by as much as 75 to 100 mm Hg within a few seconds. This is called the alarm reaction, and it provides an excess of arterial pressure that can immediately supply blood to the muscles of the body that might need to respond instantly to cause flight from danger.

Reflex Mechanisms for Maintaining Normal Arterial Pressure Aside from the exercise and stress functions of the autonomic nervous system to increase arterial pressure, there are multiple subconscious special nervous control mechanisms that operate all the time to maintain the arterial pressure at or near normal. Almost all of these are negative feedback reflex mechanisms, which we explain in the following sections.

Baroreceptor Arterial Pressure Control System— Baroreceptor Reflexes By far the best known of the nervous mechanisms for arterial pressure control is the baroreceptor reflex. Basically, this reflex is initiated by stretch receptors, called either baroreceptors or pressoreceptors, located at specific points in the walls of several large systemic arteries. A rise in arterial pressure stretches the baroreceptors and causes them to transmit signals into the central nervous system. “Feedback” signals are then sent back through the autonomic nervous system to the circulation to reduce arterial pressure downward toward the normal level. Physiologic Anatomy of the Baroreceptors and Their Innervation.  Baroreceptors are spray-type nerve endings that lie in the walls of the arteries; they are stimulated when stretched. A few baroreceptors are located in the wall of almost every large artery of the thoracic and neck regions; but, as shown in Figure 18-5, baroreceptors are extremely abundant in (1) the wall of each internal carotid artery slightly above the carotid bifurcation, an area known as the carotid sinus, and (2) the wall of the aortic arch. Figure 18-5 shows that signals from the “carotid baroreceptors” are transmitted through small Hering’s nerves to the glossopharyngeal nerves in the high neck, and then to the tractus solitarius in the medullary area of the brain stem. Signals from the “aortic baroreceptors” in the arch of the aorta are transmitted through the vagus nerves also to the same tractus solitarius of the medulla. Response of the Baroreceptors to Arterial Pressure.  Figure 18-6 shows the effect of different arterial pressure levels on the rate of impulse transmission in a Hering’s carotid sinus nerve. Note that the carotid sinus baroreceptors are not stimulated at all by pressures between 0 and 50 to 60 mm Hg, but above these levels, they respond progressively more rapidly and reach a 205

Unit IV

1. Most arterioles of the systemic circulation are constricted. This greatly increases the total peripheral resistance, thereby increasing the arterial pressure. 2. The veins especially (but the other large vessels of the circulation as well) are strongly constricted. This displaces blood out of the large peripheral blood vessels toward the heart, thus increasing the volume of blood in the heart chambers. The stretch of the heart then causes the heart to beat with far greater force and therefore to pump increased quantities of blood. This, too, increases the arterial pressure. 3. Finally, the heart itself is directly stimulated by the autonomic nervous system, further enhancing cardiac pumping. Much of this is caused by an increase in the heart rate, the rate sometimes increasing to as great as three times normal. In addition, sympathetic nervous signals have a significant direct effect to increase contractile force of the heart muscle, this, too, increasing the capability of the heart to pump larger volumes of blood. During strong sympathetic stimulation, the heart can pump about two times as much blood as under normal conditions. This contributes still more to the acute rise in arterial pressure.

Unit IV  The Circulation

Hering’s nerve Carotid body Carotid sinus Vagus nerve

Aortic baroreceptors

Figure 18-5  The baroreceptor system for controlling arterial pressure.

Number of impulses from carotid sinus nerves per second

maximum at about 180 mm Hg. The responses of the aortic baroreceptors are similar to those of the carotid receptors except that they operate, in general, at arterial pressure levels about 30 mm Hg higher. Note especially that in the normal operating range of arterial pressure, around 100 mm Hg, even a slight change in pressure causes a strong change in the baroreflex signal to readjust arterial pressure back toward normal. Thus, the baroreceptor feedback mechanism functions most effectively in the pressure range where it is most needed.

DI = maximum DP

Arterial pressure (mm Hg)

Glossopharyngeal nerve

The baroreceptors respond rapidly to changes in arterial pressure; in fact, the rate of impulse firing increases in the fraction of a second during each systole and decreases again during diastole. Furthermore, the baroreceptors respond much more to a rapidly changing pressure than to a stationary pressure. That is, if the mean arterial pressure is 150 mm Hg but at that moment is rising rapidly, the rate of impulse transmission may be as much as twice that when the pressure is stationary at 150 mm Hg. Circulatory Reflex Initiated by the Baroreceptors.  After the baroreceptor signals have entered the tractus solitarius of the medulla, secondary signals inhibit the vasoconstrictor center of the medulla and excite the vagal parasympathetic center. The net effects are (1) vasodilation of the veins and arterioles throughout the peripheral circulatory system and (2) decreased heart rate and strength of heart contraction. Therefore, excitation of the baroreceptors by high pressure in the arteries reflexly causes the arterial pressure to decrease because of both a decrease in peripheral resistance and a decrease in cardiac output. Conversely, low pressure has opposite effects, reflexly causing the pressure to rise back toward normal. Figure 18-7 shows a typical reflex change in arterial pressure caused by occluding the two common carotid arteries. This reduces the carotid sinus pressure; as a result, signals from the baroreceptors decrease and cause less inhibitory effect on the vasomotor center. The vasomotor center then becomes much more active than usual, causing the aortic arterial pressure to rise and remain elevated during the 10 minutes that the carotids are occluded. Removal of the occlusion allows the pressure in the carotid sinuses to rise, and the carotid sinus reflex now causes the aortic pressure to fall immediately to slightly below normal as a momentary overcompensation and then return to normal in another minute. Function of the Baroreceptors During Changes in Body Posture.  The ability of the baroreceptors to maintain relatively constant arterial pressure in the upper body

150

100

50

0 0

80 160 240 Arterial blood pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 18-6  Activation of the baroreceptors at different levels of arterial pressure. ∆I, change in carotid sinus nerve impulses per second; ∆P, change in arterial blood pressure in mm Hg.

206

Both common carotids clamped

0

2

4

6

Carotids released

8

10

12

14

Minutes

Figure 18-7  Typical carotid sinus reflex effect on aortic arterial pressure caused by clamping both common carotids (after the two vagus nerves have been cut).

Chapter 18  Nervous Regulation of the Circulation, and Rapid Control of Arterial Pressure

NORMAL

200

Arterial pressure (mm Hg)

100

0 24 200

BARORECEPTORS DENERVATED

100

0 24

Time (min)

Figure 18-8  Two-hour records of arterial pressure in a normal dog (above) and in the same dog (below) several weeks after the baroreceptors had been denervated. (Redrawn from Cowley AW Jr, Liard JF, Guyton AC: Role of baroreceptor reflex in daily control of arterial blood pressure and other variables in dogs. Circ Res 32:564, 1973. By permission of the American Heart Association, Inc.)

Percentage of occurrence

6 5

Normal

Unit IV

is important when a person stands up after having been lying down. Immediately on standing, the arterial pressure in the head and upper part of the body tends to fall, and marked reduction of this pressure could cause loss of consciousness. However, the falling pressure at the baroreceptors elicits an immediate reflex, resulting in strong sympathetic discharge throughout the body. This minimizes the decrease in pressure in the head and upper body. Pressure “Buffer” Function of the Baroreceptor Control System.  Because the baroreceptor system opposes either increases or decreases in arterial pressure, it is called a pressure buffer system and the nerves from the baroreceptors are called buffer nerves. Figure 18-8 shows the importance of this buffer function of the baroreceptors. The upper record in this figure shows an arterial pressure recording for 2 hours from a normal dog, and the lower record shows an arterial pressure recording from a dog whose baroreceptor nerves from both the carotid sinuses and the aorta had been removed. Note the extreme variability of pressure in the denervated dog caused by simple events of the day, such as lying down, standing, excitement, eating, defecation, and noises. Figure 18-9 shows the frequency distributions of the mean arterial pressures recorded for a 24-hour day in both the normal dog and the denervated dog. Note that when the baroreceptors were functioning normally the mean

4 3 2 Denervated

1 0 0

50 100 150 200 Mean arterial pressure (mm Hg)

250

Figure 18-9  Frequency distribution curves of the arterial pressure for a 24-hour period in a normal dog and in the same dog several weeks after the baroreceptors had been denervated. (Redrawn from Cowley AW Jr, Liard JP, Guyton AC: Role of baroreceptor reflex in daily control of arterial blood pressure and other variables in dogs. Circ Res 32:564, 1973. By permission of the American Heart Association, Inc.)

arterial pressure remained throughout the day within a narrow range between 85 and 115 mm Hg—indeed, during most of the day at almost exactly 100 mm Hg. Conversely, after denervation of the baroreceptors, the frequency distribution curve became the broad, low curve of the figure, showing that the pressure range increased 2.5-fold, frequently falling to as low as 50 mm Hg or rising to over 160 mm Hg. Thus, one can see the extreme variability of pressure in the absence of the arterial baroreceptor system. In summary, a primary purpose of the arterial baroreceptor system is to reduce the minute-byminute variation in arterial pressure to about one-third that which would occur if the baroreceptor system was not present. Are the Baroreceptors Important in Long-Term Regulation of Arterial Pressure?  Although the arterial baroreceptors provide powerful moment-to-moment control of arterial pressure, their importance in long-term blood pressure regulation has been controversial. One reason that the baroreceptors have been considered by some physiologists to be relatively unimportant in chronic regulation of arterial pressure chronically is that they tend to reset in 1 to 2 days to the pressure level to which they are exposed. That is, if the arterial pressure rises from the normal value of 100 mm Hg to 160 mm Hg, a very high rate of baroreceptor impulses are at first transmitted. During the next few minutes, the rate of firing diminishes considerably; then it diminishes much more slowly during the next 1 to 2 days, at the end of which time the rate of firing will have returned to nearly normal despite the fact that the mean arterial pressure still remains at 160 mm Hg. Conversely, when the arterial pressure falls to a very low level, the baroreceptors at first transmit no impulses, 207

Unit IV  The Circulation

but gradually, over 1 to 2 days, the rate of baroreceptor firing returns toward the control level. This “resetting” of the baroreceptors may attenuate their potency as a control system for correcting disturbances that tend to change arterial pressure for longer than a few days at a time. Experimental studies, however, have suggested that the baroreceptors do not completely reset and may therefore contribute to long-term blood pressure regulation, especially by influencing sympathetic nerve activity of the kidneys. For example, with prolonged increases in arterial pressure, the baroreceptor reflexes may mediate decreases in renal sympathetic nerve activity that promote increased excretion of sodium and water by the kidneys. This, in turn, causes a gradual decrease in blood volume, which helps to restore arterial pressure toward normal. Thus, long-term regulation of mean arterial pressure by the baroreceptors requires interaction with additional systems, principally the renal–body fluid–pressure control system (along with its associated nervous and hormonal mechanisms), discussed in Chapters 19 and 29. Control of Arterial Pressure by the Carotid and Aortic Chemoreceptors—Effect of Oxygen Lack on Arterial Pressure.  Closely associated with the baroreceptor pressure control system is a chemoreceptor reflex that operates in much the same way as the baroreceptor reflex except that chemoreceptors, instead of stretch receptors, initiate the response. The chemoreceptors are chemosensitive cells sensitive to oxygen lack, carbon dioxide excess, and hydrogen ion excess. They are located in several small chemoreceptor organs about 2 millimeters in size (two carotid bodies, one of which lies in the bifurcation of each common carotid artery, and usually one to three aortic bodies adjacent to the aorta). The chemoreceptors excite nerve fibers that, along with the baroreceptor fibers, pass through Hering’s nerves and the vagus nerves into the vasomotor center of the brain stem. Each carotid or aortic body is supplied with an abundant blood flow through a small nutrient artery, so the chemoreceptors are always in close contact with arterial blood. Whenever the arterial pressure falls below a critical level, the chemoreceptors become stimulated because diminished blood flow causes decreased oxygen, as well as excess buildup of carbon dioxide and hydrogen ions that are not removed by the slowly flowing blood. The signals transmitted from the chemoreceptors excite the vasomotor center, and this elevates the arterial pressure back toward normal. However, this chemoreceptor reflex is not a powerful arterial pressure controller until the arterial pressure falls below 80 mm Hg. Therefore, it is at the lower pressures that this reflex becomes important to help prevent further decreases in arterial pressure. The chemoreceptors are discussed in much more detail in Chapter 41 in relation to respiratory control, in which they play a far more important role than in blood pressure control. Atrial and Pulmonary Artery Reflexes Regulate Arterial  Pressure.  Both the atria and the pulmonary arteries 208

have in their walls stretch receptors called low-pressure receptors. They are similar to the baroreceptor stretch receptors of the large systemic arteries. These low-pressure receptors play an important role, especially in minimizing arterial pressure changes in response to changes in blood volume. For example, if 300 milliliters of blood suddenly are infused into a dog with all receptors intact, the arterial pressure rises only about 15 mm Hg. With the arterial baroreceptors denervated, the pressure rises about 40 mm Hg. If the low-pressure receptors also are denervated, the arterial pressure rises about 100 mm Hg. Thus, one can see that even though the low-pressure receptors in the pulmonary artery and in the atria cannot detect the systemic arterial pressure, they do detect simultaneous increases in pressure in the low-pressure areas of the circulation caused by increase in volume, and they elicit reflexes parallel to the baroreceptor reflexes to make the total reflex system more potent for control of arterial pressure. Atrial Reflexes That Activate the Kidneys—The “Volume Reflex.”  Stretch of the atria also causes significant reflex dilation of the afferent arterioles in the kidneys. Signals are also transmitted simultaneously from the atria to the hypothalamus to decrease secretion of antidiuretic hormone (ADH). The decreased afferent arteriolar resistance in the kidneys causes the glomerular capillary pressure to rise, with resultant increase in filtration of fluid into the kidney tubules. The diminution of ADH diminishes the reabsorption of water from the tubules. Combination of these two effects—increase in glomerular filtration and decrease in reabsorption of the fluid—increases fluid loss by the kidneys and reduces an increased blood volume back toward normal. (We will also see in Chapter 19 that atrial stretch caused by increased blood volume also elicits a hormonal effect on the kidneys—release of atrial natriuretic peptide—that adds still further to the excretion of fluid in the urine and return of blood volume toward normal.) All these mechanisms that tend to return the blood volume back toward normal after a volume overload act indirectly as pressure controllers, as well as blood volume controllers, because excess volume drives the heart to greater cardiac output and leads, therefore, to greater arterial pressure. This volume reflex mechanism is discussed again in Chapter 29, along with other mechanisms of blood volume control. Atrial Reflex Control of Heart Rate (the Bainbridge Reflex).  An increase in atrial pressure also causes an increase in heart rate, sometimes increasing the heart rate as much as 75 percent. A small part of this increase is caused by a direct effect of the increased atrial volume to stretch the sinus node; it was pointed out in Chapter 10 that such direct stretch can increase the heart rate as much as 15 percent. An additional 40 to 60 percent increase in rate is caused by a nervous reflex called the Bainbridge reflex. The stretch receptors of the atria that elicit the Bainbridge reflex transmit their afferent signals through the vagus

Chapter 18  Nervous Regulation of the Circulation, and Rapid Control of Arterial Pressure

Central Nervous System Ischemic Response— Control of Arterial Pressure by the Brain’s Vasomotor Center in Response to Diminished Brain Blood Flow Most nervous control of blood pressure is achieved by reflexes that originate in the baroreceptors, the chemoreceptors, and the low-pressure receptors, all of which are located in the peripheral circulation outside the brain. However, when blood flow to the vasomotor center in the lower brain stem becomes decreased severely enough to cause nutritional deficiency—that is, to cause cerebral ischemia—the vasoconstrictor and cardioaccelerator neurons in the vasomotor center respond directly to the ischemia and become strongly excited. When this occurs, the systemic arterial pressure often rises to a level as high as the heart can possibly pump. This effect is believed to be caused by failure of the slowly flowing blood to carry carbon dioxide away from the brain stem vasomotor center: At low levels of blood flow to the vasomotor center, the local concentration of carbon dioxide increases greatly and has an extremely potent effect in stimulating the sympathetic vasomotor nervous control areas in the brain’s medulla. It is possible that other factors, such as buildup of lactic acid and other acidic substances in the vasomotor center, also contribute to the marked stimulation and elevation in arterial pressure. This arterial pressure elevation in response to cerebral ischemia is known as the central nervous system (CNS) ischemic response. The ischemic effect on vasomotor activity can elevate the mean arterial pressure dramatically, sometimes to as high as 250 mm Hg for as long as 10 minutes. The degree of sympathetic vasoconstriction caused by intense cerebral ischemia is often so great that some of the peripheral vessels become totally or almost totally occluded. The kidneys, for instance, often entirely cease their production of urine because of renal arteriolar constriction in response to the sympathetic discharge. Therefore, the CNS is­chemic response is one of the most powerful of all the activators of the sympathetic vasoconstrictor system.

Importance of the CNS Ischemic Response as a Regulator of Arterial Pressure.  Despite the powerful nature of the CNS ischemic response, it does not become significant until the arterial pressure falls far below normal, down to 60 mm Hg and below, reaching its greatest degree of stimulation at a pressure of 15 to 20 mm Hg. Therefore, it is not one of the normal mechanisms for regulating arterial pressure. Instead, it operates principally as an emergency pressure control system that acts rapidly and very powerfully to prevent further

decrease in arterial pressure whenever blood flow to the brain decreases dangerously close to the lethal level. It is sometimes called the “last ditch stand” pressure control mechanism.

Cushing Reaction to Increased Pressure Around the Brain.  The so-called Cushing reaction is a spe-

cial type of CNS ischemic response that results from increased pressure of the cerebrospinal fluid around the brain in the cranial vault. For instance, when the cerebrospinal fluid pressure rises to equal the arterial pressure, it compresses the whole brain, as well as the arteries in the brain, and cuts off the blood supply to the brain. This initiates a CNS ischemic response that causes the arterial pressure to rise. When the arterial pressure has risen to a level higher than the cerebrospinal fluid pressure, blood will flow once again into the vessels of the brain to relieve the brain ischemia. Ordinarily, the blood pressure comes to a new equilibrium level slightly higher than the cerebrospinal fluid pressure, thus allowing blood to begin again to flow through the brain. The Cushing reaction helps protect the vital centers of the brain from loss of nutrition if ever the cerebrospinal fluid pressure rises high enough to compress the cerebral arteries.

Special Features of Nervous Control of Arterial Pressure Role of the Skeletal Nerves and Skeletal Muscles in Increasing Cardiac Output and Arterial Pressure Although most rapidly acting nervous control of the circulation is effected through the autonomic nervous system, at least two conditions in which the skeletal nerves and muscles also play major roles in circulatory responses are the following.

Abdominal Compression Reflex.  When a baroreceptor or chemoreceptor reflex is elicited, nerve signals are transmitted simultaneously through skeletal nerves to skeletal muscles of the body, particularly to the abdominal muscles. This compresses all the venous reservoirs of the abdomen, helping to translocate blood out of the abdominal vascular reservoirs toward the heart. As a result, increased quantities of blood are made available for the heart to pump. This overall response is called the abdominal compression reflex. The resulting effect on the circulation is the same as that caused by sympathetic vasoconstrictor impulses when they constrict the veins: an increase in both cardiac output and arterial pressure. The abdominal compression reflex is probably much more important than has been realized in the past because it is well known that people whose skeletal muscles have been paralyzed are considerably more prone to hypotensive episodes than are people with normal skeletal muscles. 209

Unit IV

nerves to the medulla of the brain. Then efferent signals are transmitted back through vagal and sympathetic nerves to increase heart rate and strength of heart contraction. Thus, this reflex helps prevent damming of blood in the veins, atria, and pulmonary circulation.

Increased Cardiac Output and Arterial Pressure Caused by Skeletal Muscle Contraction During Exercise.  When the skeletal muscles contract during

Pressure (mm Hg)

Unit IV  The Circulation

200 160 120 80 40 0

100 60

exercise, they compress blood vessels throughout the body. Even anticipation of exercise tightens the muscles, thereby compressing the vessels in the muscles and in the abdomen. The resulting effect is to translocate blood from the peripheral vessels into the heart and lungs and, therefore, to increase the cardiac output. This is an essential effect in helping to cause the fivefold to sevenfold increase in cardiac output that sometimes occurs in heavy exercise. The increase in cardiac output in turn is an essential ingredient in increasing the arterial pressure during exercise, an increase usually from a normal mean of 100 mm Hg up to 130 to 160 mm Hg.

Figure 18-10  A, Vasomotor waves caused by oscillation of the CNS ischemic response. B, Vasomotor waves caused by baroreceptor reflex oscillation.

Respiratory Waves in the Arterial Pressure

Oscillation of the Baroreceptor and Chemoreceptor Reflexes.  The vasomotor waves of Figure 18-10B are

With each cycle of respiration, the arterial pressure usually rises and falls 4 to 6 mm Hg in a wavelike manner, causing respiratory waves in the arterial pressure. The waves result from several different effects, some of which are reflex in nature, as follows: 1. Many of the “breathing signals” that arise in the respiratory center of the medulla “spill over” into the vasomotor center with each respiratory cycle. 2. Every time a person inspires, the pressure in the thoracic cavity becomes more negative than usual, causing the blood vessels in the chest to expand. This reduces the quantity of blood returning to the left side of the heart and thereby momentarily decreases the cardiac output and arterial pressure. 3. The pressure changes caused in the thoracic vessels by respiration can excite vascular and atrial stretch receptors. Although it is difficult to analyze the exact relations of all these factors in causing the respiratory pressure waves, the net result during normal respiration is usually an increase in arterial pressure during the early part of expiration and a decrease in pressure during the remainder of the respiratory cycle. During deep respiration, the blood pressure can rise and fall as much as 20 mm Hg with each respiratory cycle.

Arterial Pressure “Vasomotor” Waves—Oscillation of Pressure Reflex Control Systems Often while recording arterial pressure from an animal, in addition to the small pressure waves caused by respiration, some much larger waves are also noted—as great as 10 to 40 mm Hg at times—that rise and fall more slowly than the respiratory waves. The duration of each cycle varies from 26 seconds in the anesthetized dog to 7 to 10 seconds in the unanesthetized human. These waves are called vasomotor waves or “Mayer waves.” Such records are demonstrated in Figure 18-10, showing the cyclical rise and fall in arterial pressure. 210

A

B

The cause of vasomotor waves is “reflex oscillation” of one or more nervous pressure control mechanisms, some of which are the following.

often seen in experimental pressure recordings, although usually much less intense than shown in the figure. They are caused mainly by oscillation of the baroreceptor reflex. That is, a high pressure excites the baroreceptors; this then inhibits the sympathetic nervous system and lowers the pressure a few seconds later. The decreased pressure in turn reduces the baroreceptor stimulation and allows the vasomotor center to become active once again, elevating the pressure to a high value. The response is not instantaneous, and it is delayed until a few seconds later. This high pressure then initiates another cycle, and the oscillation continues on and on. The chemoreceptor reflex can also oscillate to give the same type of waves. This reflex usually oscillates simultaneously with the baroreceptor reflex. It probably plays the major role in causing vasomotor waves when the arterial pressure is in the range of 40 to 80 mm Hg because in this low range, chemoreceptor control of the circulation becomes powerful, whereas baroreceptor control becomes weaker.

Oscillation of the CNS Ischemic Response.  The record in Figure 18-10A resulted from oscillation of the CNS ischemic pressure control mechanism. In this experiment, the cerebrospinal fluid pressure was raised to 160 mm Hg, which compressed the cerebral vessels and initiated a CNS ischemic pressure response up to 200 mm Hg. When the arterial pressure rose to such a high value, the brain ischemia was relieved and the sympathetic nervous system became inactive. As a result, the arterial pressure fell rapidly back to a much lower value, causing brain ischemia once again. The ischemia then initiated another rise in pressure. Again the ischemia was relieved and again the pressure fell. This repeated itself cyclically as long as the cerebrospinal fluid pressure remained elevated. Thus, any reflex pressure control mechanism can oscillate if the intensity of “feedback” is strong enough and if there is a delay between excitation of the pressure receptor and the subsequent pressure response. The vasomotor

Chapter 18  Nervous Regulation of the Circulation, and Rapid Control of Arterial Pressure

Bibliography Cao WH, Fan W, Morrison SF: Medullary pathways mediating specific sympathetic responses to activation of dorsomedial hypothalamus, Neuroscience 126:229, 2004. Cowley AW Jr: Long-term control of arterial blood pressure, Physiol Rev 72:231, 1992. DiBona GF: Physiology in perspective: the wisdom of the body. Neural control of the kidney, Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 289:R633, 2005. Esler M, Lambert G, Brunner-La Rocca HP, et al: Sympathetic nerve activity and neurotransmitter release in humans: translation from pathophysiology into clinical practice, Acta Physiol Scand 177:275, 2003. Freeman R: Clinical practice. Neurogenic orthostatic hypotension, N Engl J Med 358:615, 2008.

Goldstein DS, Robertson D, Esler M, et al: Dysautonomias: clinical disorders of the autonomic nervous system, Ann Intern Med 137:753, 2002. Guyton AC: Arterial pressure and hypertension, Philadelphia, 1980, WB Saunders. Guyenet PG: The sympathetic control of blood pressure, Nat Rev Neurosci 7:335, 2006. Joyner MJ: Baroreceptor function during exercise: resetting the record, Exp Physiol 91:27, 2006. Lohmeier TE, Dwyer TM, Irwin ED, et al: Prolonged activation of the baroreflex abolishes obesity-induced hypertension, Hypertension 49:1307, 2007. Lohmeier TE, Hildebrandt DA, Warren S, et al: Recent insights into the interactions between the baroreflex and the kidneys in hypertension, Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 288:R828, 2005. Ketch T, Biaggioni I, Robertson R, Robertson D: Four faces of baroreflex failure: hypertensive crisis, volatile hypertension, orthostatic tachycardia, and malignant vagotonia, Circulation 105:2518, 2002. Mifflin SW: What does the brain know about blood pressure? News Physiol Sci 16:266, 2001. Olshansky B, Sabbah HN, Hauptman PJ, et al: Parasympathetic nervous system and heart failure: pathophysiology and potential implications for therapy, Circulation 118:863, 2008. Schultz HD, Li YL, Ding Y: Arterial chemoreceptors and sympathetic nerve activity: implications for hypertension and heart failure, Hypertension 50:6, 2007. Zucker IH: Novel mechanisms of sympathetic regulation in chronic heart failure, Hypertension 48:1005, 2006.

211

Unit IV

waves are of considerable theoretical importance because they show that the nervous reflexes that control arterial pressure obey the same principles as those applicable to mechanical and electrical control systems. For instance, if the feedback “gain” is too great in the guiding mechanism of an automatic pilot for an airplane and there is also delay in response time of the guiding mechanism, the plane will oscillate from side to side instead of following a straight course.

This page intentionally left blank

chapter 19

Short-term control of arterial pressure by the sympathetic nervous system, as discussed in Chapter 18, occurs primarily through the effects of the nervous system on total peripheral vascular resistance and capacitance, as well as on cardiac pumping ability. The body, however, also has powerful mechanisms for regulating arterial pressure week after week and month after month. This long-term control of arterial pressure is closely intertwined with homeostasis of body fluid volume, which is determined by the balance between the fluid intake and output. For long-term survival, fluid intake and output must be precisely balanced, a task that is performed by multiple nervous and hormonal controls, and by local control systems within the kidneys that regulate their excretion of salt and water. In this chapter we discuss these renal–body fluid systems that play a dominant role in long-term blood pressure regulation.

Renal–Body Fluid System for Arterial Pressure Control The renal–body fluid system for arterial pressure control acts slowly but powerfully as follows: If blood volume increases and vascular capacitance is not altered, arterial pressure will also increase. The rising pressure in turn causes the kidneys to excrete the excess volume, thus returning the pressure back toward normal. In the phylogenetic history of animal development, this renal–body fluid system for pressure control is a primitive one. It is fully operative in one of the lowest of vertebrates, the hagfish. This animal has a low arterial pressure, only 8 to 14 mm Hg, and this pressure increases almost directly in proportion to its blood volume. The hagfish continually drinks sea water, which is absorbed into its blood, increasing the blood volume and blood pressure. However, when the pressure rises too high, the kidney simply excretes the excess volume into the urine and relieves the pressure. At low pressure, the kidney excretes less fluid than

is ingested. Therefore, because the hagfish continues to drink, extracellular fluid volume, blood volume, and pressure all build up again to the higher levels. Throughout the ages, this primitive mechanism of pressure control has survived almost as it functions in the hagfish; in the humans, kidney output of water and salt is just as sensitive to pressure changes as in the hagfish, if not more so. Indeed, an increase in arterial pressure in the human of only a few mm Hg can double renal output of water, which is called pressure diuresis, as well as double the output of salt, which is called pressure natriuresis. In the human being, the renal–body fluid system for arterial pressure control, just as in the hagfish, is a fundamental mechanism for long-term arterial pressure control. However, through the stages of evolution, multiple refinements have been added to make this system much more exact in its control in the human being. An especially important refinement, as discussed later, has been the addition of the renin-angiotensin mechanism.

Quantitation of Pressure Diuresis as a Basis for Arterial Pressure Control Figure 19-1 shows the approximate average effect of different arterial pressure levels on urinary volume output by an isolated kidney, demonstrating markedly increased urine volume output as the pressure rises. This increased urinary output is the phenomenon of pressure diuresis. The curve in this figure is called a renal urinary output curve or a renal function curve. In the human being, at an arterial pressure of 50 mm Hg, the urine output is essentially zero. At 100 mm Hg it is normal, and at 200 mm Hg it is about six to eight times normal. Furthermore, not only does increasing the arterial pressure increase urine volume output, but it causes approximately equal increase in sodium output, which is the phenomenon of pressure natriuresis.

An Experiment Demonstrating the Renal–Body Fluid System for Arterial Pressure Control.  Figure

19-2 shows the results of an experiment in dogs in which all the nervous reflex mechanisms for blood pressure control were first blocked. Then the arterial pressure was suddenly elevated by infusing about 400 ml of blood intravenously. Note the rapid increase in cardiac output 213

Unit IV

Role of the Kidneys in Long-Term Control of Arterial Pressure and in Hypertension: The Integrated System for Arterial Pressure Regulation

8

Intake or output (x normal)

Urinary volume output (x normal)

Unit IV  The Circulation

7 6 5 4 3 2 1 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 Arterial pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 19-1  Typical renal urinary output curve measured in a perfused isolated kidney, showing pressure diuresis when the arterial pressure rises above normal. 4000 Cardiac output (ml/min)

Renal output of water and salt

6 4 Equilibrium point

2

2000

Urinary output (ml/min) Arterial pressure (mm Hg)

1000

225 200 175 150 125 100 75 50

50

100

150

200

Arterial pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 19-3  Analysis of arterial pressure regulation by equating the “renal output curve” with the “salt and water intake curve.” The equilibrium point describes the level to which the arterial pressure will be regulated. (That small portion of the salt and water intake that is lost from the body through nonrenal routes is ignored in this and similar figures in this chapter.)

can be used for analyzing arterial pressure control by the renal–body fluid system. This analysis is based on two separate curves that intersect each other: (1) the renal output curve for water and salt in response to rising arterial pressure, which is the same renal output curve as that shown in Figure 19-1, and (2) the line that represents the net water and salt intake.

3000

4 3 2 1 0

Water and salt intake

0 0

0 0

Infusion period 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Time (minutes)

120

Figure 19-2  Increases in cardiac output, urinary output, and arterial pressure caused by increased blood volume in dogs whose nervous pressure control mechanisms had been blocked. This figure shows return of arterial pressure to normal after about an hour of fluid loss into the urine. (Courtesy Dr. William Dobbs.)

to about double normal and increase in mean arterial pressure to 205 mm Hg, 115 mm Hg above its resting level. Shown by the middle curve is the effect of this increased arterial pressure on urine output, which increased 12-fold. Along with this tremendous loss of fluid in the urine, both the cardiac output and the arterial pressure returned to normal during the subsequent hour. Thus, one sees an extreme capability of the kidneys to eliminate fluid volume from the body in response to high arterial pressure and in so doing to return the arterial pressure back to normal.

Arterial Pressure Control by the Renal–Body Fluid Mechanism—“Near Infinite Feedback Gain” Feature.  Figure 19-3 shows a graphical method that 214

8

Over a long period, the water and salt output must equal the intake. Furthermore, the only place on the graph in Figure 19-3 at which output equals intake is where the two curves intersect, which is called the equilibrium point. Now, let us see what happens if the arterial pressure increases above, or decreases below, the equilibrium point. First, assume that the arterial pressure rises to 150  mm Hg. At this level, the renal output of water and salt is about three times as great as the intake. Therefore, the body loses fluid, the blood volume decreases, and the arterial pressure decreases. Furthermore, this “negative balance” of fluid will not cease until the pressure falls all the way back exactly to the equilibrium level. Indeed, even when the arterial pressure is only 1 mm Hg greater than the equilibrium level, there still is slightly more loss of water and salt than intake, so the pressure continues to fall that last 1 mm Hg until the pressure eventually returns exactly to the equilibrium point. If the arterial pressure falls below the equilibrium point, the intake of water and salt is greater than the output. Therefore, body fluid volume increases, blood volume increases, and the arterial pressure rises until once again it returns exactly to the equilibrium point. This return of the arterial pressure always back to the equilibrium point is the near infinite feedback gain principle for control of arterial pressure by the renal–body fluid mechanism.

Two Determinants of the Long-Term Arterial Pressure Level.  In Figure 19-3, one can also see that two basic long-term factors determine the long-term arterial pressure level. This can be explained as follows.

Chapter 19  Role of the Kidneys in Long-Term Control of Arterial Pressure and in Hypertension

1. The degree of pressure shift of the renal output curve for water and salt 2. The level of the water and salt intake Operation of these two determinants in the control of arterial pressure is demonstrated in Figure 19-4. In Figure 19-4A, some abnormality of the kidneys has caused the renal output curve to shift 50 mm Hg in the high-pressure direction (to the right). Note that the equilibrium point has also shifted to 50 mm Hg higher than normal. Therefore, one can state that if the renal output curve shifts to a new pressure level, the arterial pressure will ­follow to this new pressure level within a few days. Figure 19-4B shows how a change in the level of salt and water intake also can change the arterial pressure. In this case, the intake level has increased fourfold and the equilibrium point has shifted to a pressure level of 160 mm Hg,

8 6

60 mm Hg above the normal level. Conversely, a decrease in the intake level would reduce the arterial pressure. Thus, it is impossible to change the long-term mean arterial pressure level to a new value without changing one or both of the two basic determinants of long-term arterial pressure—either (1) the level of salt and water intake or (2) the degree of shift of the renal function curve along the pressure axis. However, if either of these is changed, one finds the arterial pressure thereafter to be regulated at a new pressure level, the arterial pressure at which the two new curves intersect.

The Chronic Renal Output Curve Is Much Steeper than the Acute Curve.  An important characteristic of

pressure natriuresis (and pressure diuresis) is that chronic changes in arterial pressure, lasting for days or months, have much greater effect on renal output of salt and water than observed during acute changes in pressure (Figure 19-5). Thus, when the kidneys are functioning normally, the chronic renal output curve is much steeper than the acute curve. The powerful effects of chronic increases in arterial pressure on urine output are because increased pressure not only has direct hemodynamic effects on the kidney to increase excretion, but also indirect effects mediated by nervous and hormonal changes that occur when blood pressure is increased. For example, increased arterial pressure decreases activity of the sympathetic nervous system and various hormones such as angiotensin II and aldosterone that tend to reduce salt and water excretion by the kidneys. Reduced activity of these antinatriuretic systems therefore amplifies the effectiveness of pressure natriuresis and diuresis in raising salt and water excretion during chronic increases in arterial ­pressure (see Chapters 27 and 29 for further discussion).

0

Elevated pressure

Normal

2

0

50

100

150

200

250

8 Elevated pressure

6 4

8

Chronic High intake

6

Acute B

4 2 Normal intake 0

0

50

A 100

150

200

Arterial pressure (mm Hg) Normal

2

B

Intake or output (x normal)

A

Intake or output (x normal)

4

0 0

50

100

150

200

250

Arterial pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 19-4  Two ways in which the arterial pressure can be increased: A, by shifting the renal output curve in the right-hand direction toward a higher pressure level or B, by increasing the intake level of salt and water.

Figure 19-5  Acute and chronic renal output curves. Under steadystate conditions renal output of salt and water is equal to intake of  salt and water. A and B represent the equilibrium points for long-term regulation of arterial pressure when salt intake is normal or six times normal, respectively. Because of the steepness of the chronic renal output curve, increased salt intake causes only small changes in arterial pressure. In persons with impaired kidney function, the steepness of the renal output curve may be reduced, similar to the acute curve, resulting in increased sensitivity of ­arterial pressure to changes in salt intake.

215

Unit IV

As long as the two curves representing (1) renal output of salt and water and (2) intake of salt and water remain exactly as they are shown in Figure 19-3, the mean arterial pressure level will eventually readjust to 100 mm Hg, which is the pressure level depicted by the equilibrium point of this figure. Furthermore, there are only two ways in which the pressure of this equilibrium point can be changed from the 100 mm Hg level. One of these is by shifting the pressure level of the renal output curve for salt and water, and the other is by changing the level of the water and salt intake line. Therefore, expressed simply, the two primary determinants of the long-term arterial pressure level are as follows:

Unit IV  The Circulation

Failure of Increased Total Peripheral Resistance to Elevate the Long-Term Level of Arterial Pressure if Fluid Intake and Renal Function Do Not Change Now is the chance for the reader to see whether he or she really understands the renal–body fluid mechanism for arterial pressure control. Recalling the basic equation for arterial pressure—arterial pressure equals cardiac output times total peripheral resistance—it is clear that an increase in total peripheral resistance should elevate the arterial pressure. Indeed, when the total peripheral resistance is acutely increased, the arterial pressure does rise 216

c

Arterial pressure

Hypothyroidism

ia

Removal of four limbs

Anemia

100

rd

Normal

Ca

150

Pulmonary disease Paget's disease

200

Beriberi AV shunts Hyperthyroidism

immediately. Yet if the kidneys continue to function normally, the acute rise in arterial pressure usually is not maintained. Instead, the arterial pressure returns all the way to normal within a day or so. Why? The answer to this is the following: Increasing resistance in the blood vessels everywhere else in the body besides in the kidneys does not change the equilibrium point for blood pressure control as dictated by the kidneys (see again Figures 19-3 and 19-4). Instead, the kidneys immediately begin to respond to the high arterial pressure, causing pressure diuresis and pressure natriuresis. Within hours, large amounts of salt and water are lost from the body, and this continues until the arterial pressure returns to the pressure level of the equilibrium point. At this point blood pressure is normalized and extracellular fluid volume and blood volume are decreased to levels below normal. As proof of this principle that changes in total peripheral resistance do not affect the long-term level of arterial pressure if function of the kidneys is still normal, carefully study Figure 19-6. This figure shows the approximate cardiac outputs and the arterial pressures in different clinical conditions in which the long-term total peripheral resistance is either much less than or much greater than normal, but kidney excretion of salt and water is normal. Note in all these different clinical conditions that the arterial pressure is also exactly normal. A word of caution is necessary at this point in our discussion. Many times when the total peripheral resistance increases, this also increases the intrarenal vascular resistance at the same time, which alters the function of the kidney and can cause hypertension by shifting the renal

Arterial pressure and cardiac output (percent of normal)

Conversely, when blood pressure is reduced, the sympathetic nervous system is activated and formation of antinatriuretic hormones is increased, adding to the direct effects of reduced pressure to decrease renal output of salt and water. This combination of direct effects of pressure on the kidneys and indirect effects of pressure on the sympathetic nervous system and various hormone systems make pressure natriuresis and diuresis extremely powerful for long-term control of arterial pressure and body fluid volumes. The importance of neural and hormonal influences on pressure natriuresis is especially evident during chronic changes in sodium intake. If the kidneys and the nervous and hormonal mechanisms are functioning normally, chronic increases in intakes of salt and water to as high as six times normal are usually associated with only small increases in arterial pressure. Note that the blood pressure equilibrium point B on the curve is nearly the same as point A, the equilibrium point at normal salt intake. Conversely, decreases in salt and water intake to as low as one-sixth normal typically have little effect on arterial pressure. Thus, many persons are said to be salt insensitive because large variations in salt intake do not change blood pressure more than a few mm Hg. Individuals with kidney injury or excessive secretion of antinatriuretic hormones such as angiotensin II or aldosterone, however, may be salt sensitive with an attenuated renal output curve similar to the acute curve shown in Figure 19-5. In these cases, even moderate increases in salt intake may cause significant increases in arterial pressure. Some of the factors include loss of functional nephrons due to kidney injury, or excessive formation of antinatriuretic hormones such as angiotensin II or aldosterone. For example, surgical reduction of kidney mass or injury to the kidney due to hypertension, diabetes, and various kidney diseases all cause blood pressure to be more sensitive to changes in salt intake. In these instances, greater than normal increases in arterial pressure are required to raise renal output sufficiently to maintain a balance between the intake and output of salt and water. There is some evidence that long-term high salt intake, lasting for several years, may actually damage the kidneys and eventually make blood pressure more salt sensitive. We will discuss salt sensitivity of blood pressure in patients with hypertension later in this chapter.

outp

ut

50

0 40

60 80 100 120 140 Total peripheral resistance (percent of normal)

160

Figure 19-6  Relations of total peripheral resistance to the longterm levels of arterial pressure and cardiac output in different clinical abnormalities. In these conditions, the kidneys were functioning normally. Note that changing the whole-body total peripheral resistance caused equal and opposite changes in cardiac output but in all cases had no effect on arterial pressure. (Redrawn from Guyton AC: Arterial Pressure and Hypertension. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1980.)

Chapter 19  Role of the Kidneys in Long-Term Control of Arterial Pressure and in Hypertension

Increased Fluid Volume Can Elevate Arterial Pressure by Increasing Cardiac Output or Total Peripheral Resistance The overall mechanism by which increased extracellular fluid volume may elevate arterial pressure, if vascular capacity is not simultaneously increased, is shown in Figure 19-7. The sequential events are (1) increased extracellular fluid volume (2) increases the blood volume, which (3) increases the mean circulatory filling pressure, which (4) increases venous return of blood to the heart, which (5) increases cardiac output, which (6) increases arterial pressure. The increased arterial pressure, in turn, increases real excretion of salt and water and may return extracellular fluid volume to nearly normal if kidney function is normal. Note especially in this schema the two ways in which an increase in cardiac output can increase the arterial pressure. One of these is the direct effect of increased cardiac output to increase the pressure, and the other is an indirect effect to raise total peripheral vascular resistance



Increased extracellular fluid volume

Increased blood volume

Increased mean circulatory filling pressure

Increased venous return of blood to the heart

Increased cardiac output

Autoregulation Increased total peripheral resistance

Increased arterial pressure

Increased urine output

Figure 19-7  Sequential steps by which increased extracellular fluid volume increases the arterial pressure. Note especially that increased cardiac output has both a direct effect to increase arterial pressure and an indirect effect by first increasing the total peripheral resistance.

through autoregulation of blood flow. The second effect can be explained as follows. Referring to Chapter 17, let us recall that whenever an excess amount of blood flows through a tissue, the local tissue vasculature constricts and decreases the blood flow back toward normal. This phenomenon is called “autoregulation,” which means simply regulation of blood flow by the tissue itself. When increased blood volume increases the cardiac output, the blood flow increases in all tissues of the body, so this autoregulation mechanism constricts blood vessels all over the body. This in turn increases the total peripheral resistance. Finally, because arterial pressure is equal to cardiac output times total peripheral resistance, the secondary increase in total peripheral resistance that results from the autoregulation mechanism helps greatly in increasing the arterial pressure. For instance, only a 5 to 10 percent increase in cardiac output can increase the ­arterial ­pressure from the normal mean arterial pressure of 100 mm Hg up to 150 mm Hg. In fact, the slight increase in cardiac output is often not measurable.

Importance of Salt (NaCl) in the Renal–Body Fluid Schema for Arterial Pressure Regulation Although the discussions thus far have emphasized the importance of volume in regulation of arterial pressure, experimental studies have shown that an increase in salt intake is far more likely to elevate the arterial pressure than is an increase in water intake. The reason for this is that pure water is normally excreted by the kidneys almost as rapidly as it is ingested, but salt is not excreted so easily. As salt accumulates in the body, it also indirectly increases the extracellular fluid volume for two basic reasons: 1. When there is excess salt in the extracellular fluid, the osmolality of the fluid increases, and this in turn stimulates the thirst center in the brain, making the person drink extra amounts of water to return the extracellular salt concentration to normal. This increases the extracellular fluid volume. 2. The increase in osmolality caused by the excess salt in the extracellular fluid also stimulates the ­hypothalamic-posterior pituitary gland secretory mechanism to secrete increased quantities of antidiuretic hormone. (This is discussed in Chapter 28.) The antidiuretic hormone then causes the kidneys to reabsorb greatly increased quantities of water from the renal tubular fluid, thereby diminishing the excreted volume of urine but increasing the extracellular fluid volume. Thus, for these important reasons, the amount of salt that accumulates in the body is the main determinant of the extracellular fluid volume. Because only small increases in extracellular fluid and blood volume can often increase the arterial pressure greatly if the vascular capacity is not simultaneously increased, accumulation of even a small amount of extra salt in the body can lead to considerable elevation of arterial pressure. 217

Unit IV

function curve to a higher pressure level, in the manner shown in Figure 19-4A. We see an example of this later in this chapter when we discuss hypertension caused by vasoconstrictor mechanisms. But it is the increase in renal resistance that is the culprit, not the increased total peripheral resistance—an important distinction.

Unit IV  The Circulation

As discussed previously, raising salt intake in the absence of impaired kidney function or excessive formation of antinatriuretic hormones usually does not increase arterial pressure much because the kidneys rapidly eliminate the excess salt and blood volume is hardly altered.

the brain is involved, a stroke can cause paralysis, dementia, blindness, or multiple other serious brain disorders. 3. High pressure almost always causes injury in the kidneys, producing many areas of renal destruction and, eventually, kidney failure, uremia, and death.

Chronic Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) Is Caused by Impaired Renal Fluid Excretion

Lessons learned from the type of hypertension called “volume-loading hypertension” have been crucial in understanding the role of the renal–body fluid volume mechanism for arterial pressure regulation. Volumeloading hypertension means hypertension caused by excess accumulation of extracellular fluid in the body, some examples of which follow.

When a person is said to have chronic hypertension (or “high blood pressure”), it is meant that his or her mean arterial pressure is greater than the upper range of the accepted normal measure. A mean arterial pressure greater than 110 mm Hg (normal is about 90 mm Hg) is considered to be hypertensive. (This level of mean pressure occurs when the diastolic blood pressure is greater than about 90 mm Hg and the systolic pressure is greater than about 135 mm Hg.) In severe hypertension, the mean arterial pressure can rise to 150 to 170 mm Hg, with diastolic pressure as high as 130 mm Hg and systolic pressure occasionally as high as 250 mm Hg. Even moderate elevation of arterial pressure leads to shortened life expectancy. At severely high pressures— mean arterial pressures 50 percent or more above normal—a person can expect to live no more than a few more years unless appropriately treated. The lethal effects of hypertension are caused mainly in three ways:

Experimental Volume-Loading Hypertension Caused  by Reduced Renal Mass Along with Simul­ taneous Increase in Salt Intake.  Figure 19-8 shows

a typical experiment demonstrating volume-loading hypertension in a group of dogs with 70 percent of their kidney mass removed. At the first circled point on the curve, the two poles of one of the kidneys were removed, and at the second circled point, the entire opposite kidney was removed, leaving the animals with only 30 percent of normal renal mass. Note that removal of this amount of kidney mass increased the arterial pressure an average of only 6 mm Hg. Then, the dogs were given salt solution to drink instead of water. Because salt solution fails to quench the thirst, the dogs drank two to four times the normal amounts of volume, and within a few days, their average arterial pressure rose to about 40 mm Hg above normal. After 2 weeks, the dogs were given tap water again instead of salt solution; the pressure returned to normal within 2 days. Finally, at the end of the experiment, the dogs were given salt solution again, and this time the pressure

1. Excess workload on the heart leads to early heart failure and coronary heart disease, often causing death as a result of a heart attack. 2. The high pressure frequently damages a major blood vessel in the brain, followed by death of major portions of the brain; this is a cerebral infarct. Clinically it is called a “stroke.” Depending on which part of

0.9% NaCl Tap water 0.9% NaCl 150

Mean arterial pressure (percent of control)

140

130

120 35–45% of left kidney removed

110

Entire right kidney removed

100

0

0

20

40

Days

60

80

100

Figure 19-8  Average effect on arterial pressure of drinking 0.9 percent saline solution instead of water in four dogs with 70 percent of their renal tissue removed. (Redrawn from Langston JB, Guyton AC, Douglas BH, et al: Effect of changes in salt intake on arterial pressure and renal function in partially nephrectomized dogs. Circ Res 12:508, 1963. By permission of the American Heart Association, Inc.)

218

Chapter 19  Role of the Kidneys in Long-Term Control of Arterial Pressure and in Hypertension

Extracellular fluid volume (liters)

20 19 18 17 16 15

Blood volume (liters)

Therefore, we can divide volume-loading hypertension into two separate sequential stages: The first stage results from increased fluid volume causing increased cardiac output. This increase in cardiac output mediates the hypertension. The second stage in volume-loading hypertension is characterized by high blood pressure and high total peripheral resistance but return of the cardiac output so near to normal that the usual measuring techniques frequently cannot detect an abnormally elevated cardiac output.

6.0 5.5 5.0

Total peripheral resistance Cardiac output (mm Hg/L/min) (L/min)

changes in circulatory function during progressive development of volume-loading hypertension. Figure 19-9 shows these sequential changes. A week or so before the point labeled “0” days, the kidney mass had already been decreased to only 30 percent of normal. Then, at this point, the intake of salt and water was increased to about six times normal and kept at this high intake thereafter. The acute effect was to increase extracellular fluid volume, blood volume, and cardiac output to 20 to 40 percent above normal. Simultaneously, the arterial pressure began to rise but not nearly so much at first as did the fluid volumes and cardiac output. The reason for this slower rise in pressure can be discerned by studying the total peripheral resistance curve, which shows an initial decrease in total peripheral resistance. This decrease was caused by the baroreceptor mechanism discussed in Chapter 18, which tried to prevent the rise in pressure. However, after 2 to 4 days, the baroreceptors adapted (reset) and were no longer able to prevent the rise in pressure. At this time, the arterial pressure had risen almost to its full height because of the increase in cardiac output, even though the total peripheral resistance was still almost at the normal level. After these early acute changes in the circulatory variables had occurred, more prolonged secondary changes occurred during the next few weeks. Especially important was a progressive increase in total peripheral resistance, while at the same time the cardiac output decreased almost all the way back to normal, mainly as a result of the longterm blood flow autoregulation mechanism that is discussed in detail in Chapter 17 and earlier in this chapter. That is, after the cardiac output had risen to a high level and had initiated the hypertension, the excess blood flow through the tissues then caused progressive constriction of the local arterioles, thus returning the local blood flows in all the body tissues and also the cardiac output almost all the way back to normal, while simultaneously causing a secondary increase in total peripheral resistance. Note, too, that the extracellular fluid volume and blood volume returned almost all the way back to normal along with the decrease in cardiac output. This resulted from

1. Hypertension 2. Marked increase in total peripheral resistance 3. Almost complete return of the extracellular fluid volume, blood volume, and cardiac output back to normal

7.0 6.5 6.0 5.5 5.0

Arterial pressure (mm Hg)

Sequential Changes in Circulatory Function During the Development of Volume-Loading Hyper­ tension.  It is especially instructive to study the sequential

two factors: First, the increase in arteriolar resistance decreased the capillary pressure, which allowed the fluid in the tissue spaces to be absorbed back into the blood. Second, the elevated arterial pressure now caused the kidneys to excrete the excess volume of fluid that had initially accumulated in the body. Last, let us take stock of the final state of the circulation several weeks after the initial onset of volume loading. We find the following effects:

33% 4%

20% 40%

5%

28 26 24 22 20 18 150 140 130 120 110 0

5%

33% −13% 40%

30%

0

2

4

6

8

10

12

14

Days

Figure 19-9  Progressive changes in important circulatory system variables during the first few weeks of volume-loading hypertension. Note especially the initial increase in cardiac output as the basic cause of the hypertension. Subsequently, the autoregulation mechanism returns the cardiac output almost to normal while simultaneously causing a secondary increase in total peripheral resistance. (Modified from Guyton AC: Arterial Pressure and Hypertension. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1980.)

219

Unit IV

rose much more rapidly to an even higher level because the dogs had already learned to tolerate the salt solution and therefore drank much more. Thus, this experiment demonstrates volume-loading hypertension. If the reader considers again the basic determinants of long-term arterial pressure regulation, he or she can immediately understand why hypertension occurred in the volume-loading experiment of Figure 19-8. First, reduction of the kidney mass to 30 percent of normal greatly reduced the ability of the kidneys to excrete salt and water. Therefore, salt and water accumulated in the body and in a few days raised the arterial pressure high enough to excrete the excess salt and water intake.

Unit IV  The Circulation

Thus, the increased total peripheral resistance in volume-loading hypertension occurs after the hypertension has developed and, therefore, is secondary to the hypertension rather than being the cause of the hypertension.

Volume-Loading Hypertension in Patients Who Have No Kidneys but Are Being Maintained on an Artificial Kidney When a patient is maintained on an artificial kidney, it is especially important to keep the patient’s body fluid volume at a normal level—that is, it is important to remove an appropriate amount of water and salt each time the patient is dialyzed. If this is not done and extracellular fluid volume is allowed to increase, hypertension almost invariably develops in exactly the same way as shown in Figure 19-9. That is, the cardiac output increases at first and causes hypertension. Then the autoregulation mechanism returns the cardiac output back toward normal while causing a secondary increase in total peripheral resistance. Therefore, in the end, the hypertension is a high peripheral resistance type of hypertension.

Hypertension Caused by Primary Aldosteronism Another type of volume-loading hypertension is caused by excess aldosterone in the body or, occasionally, by excesses of other types of steroids. A small tumor in one of the adrenal glands occasionally secretes large quantities of aldosterone, which is the condition called “primary aldosteronism.” As discussed in Chapters 27 and 29, ­aldosterone increases the rate of reabsorption of salt and water by the tubules of the kidneys, thereby reducing the loss of these in the urine while at the same time causing an increase in blood volume and extracellular fluid volume. Consequently, hypertension occurs. And, if salt intake is increased at the same time, the hypertension becomes even greater. Furthermore, if the condition persists for months or years, the excess arterial pressure often causes pathological changes in the kidneys that make the kidneys retain even more salt and water in addition to that caused directly by the aldosterone. Therefore, the hypertension often finally becomes lethally severe. Here again, in the early stages of this type of hypertension, the cardiac output is increased, but in later stages, the cardiac output generally returns almost to normal while the total peripheral resistance becomes secondarily elevated, as explained earlier in the chapter for primary volume-loading hypertension.

The Renin-Angiotensin System: Its Role in Arterial Pressure Control Aside from the capability of the kidneys to control arterial pressure through changes in extracellular fluid volume, the kidneys also have another powerful mechanism for controlling pressure. It is the renin-angiotensin system. Renin is a protein enzyme released by the kidneys when the arterial pressure falls too low. In turn, it raises 220

the arterial pressure in several ways, thus helping to correct the initial fall in pressure.

Components of the Renin-Angiotensin System Figure 19-10 shows the functional steps by which the renin-angiotensin system helps to regulate arterial pressure. Renin is synthesized and stored in an inactive form called prorenin in the juxtaglomerular cells (JG cells) of the kidneys. The JG cells are modified smooth muscle cells located in the walls of the afferent arterioles immediately proximal to the glomeruli. When the arterial pressure falls, intrinsic reactions in the kidneys themselves cause many of the prorenin molecules in the JG cells to split and release renin. Most of the renin enters the renal blood and then passes out of the kidneys to circulate throughout the entire body. However, small amounts of the renin do remain in the local fluids of the kidney and initiate several intrarenal functions. Renin itself is an enzyme, not a vasoactive substance. As shown in the schema of Figure 19-10, renin acts enzymatically on another plasma protein, a globulin called renin substrate (or angiotensinogen), to release a 10-amino acid peptide, angiotensin I. Angiotensin I has mild vasoconstrictor properties but not enough to cause significant changes in circulatory function. The renin persists in the blood for 30 minutes to 1 hour and continues to cause formation of still more angiotensin I during this entire time. Within a few seconds to minutes after formation of angiotensin I, two additional amino acids are split from

Decreased arterial pressure Renin (kidney) Renin substrate (angiotensinogen) Angiotensin I Converting enzyme (lung) Angiotensin II Angiotensinase (Inactivated) Renal retention Vasoconstriction of salt and water

Increased arterial pressure

Figure 19-10  Renin-angiotensin vasoconstrictor mechanism for arterial pressure control.

Chapter 19  Role of the Kidneys in Long-Term Control of Arterial Pressure and in Hypertension

Rapidity and Intensity of the Vasoconstrictor Pressure Response to the Renin-Angiotensin System

Arterial pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 19-11 shows a typical experiment demonstrating the effect of hemorrhage on the arterial pressure under two separate conditions: (1) with the renin-angiotensin system functioning and (2) without the system functioning (the system was interrupted by a renin-blocking antibody). Note that after hemorrhage—enough to cause 100

With renin-angiotensin system

75 Without renin-angiotensin system

50 25

Hemorrhage

0 0

10

20

30

40

Minutes

Figure 19-11  Pressure-compensating effect of the renin-­angiotensin vasoconstrictor system after severe hemorrhage. (Drawn from experiments by Dr. Royce Brough.)

acute decrease of the arterial pressure to 50 mm Hg—the arterial pressure rose back to 83 mm Hg when the reninangiotensin system was functional. Conversely, it rose to only 60 mm Hg when the renin-angiotensin system was blocked. This shows that the renin-angiotensin system is powerful enough to return the arterial pressure at least halfway back to normal within a few minutes after severe hemorrhage. Therefore, sometimes it can be of lifesaving service to the body, especially in circulatory shock. Note also that the renin-angiotensin vasoconstrictor system requires about 20 minutes to become fully active. Therefore, it is somewhat slower to act for blood pressure control than are the nervous reflexes and the sympathetic norepinephrine-epinephrine system.

Effect of Angiotensin II in the Kidneys to Cause Renal Retention of Salt and Water—An Important Means for Long-Term Control of Arterial Pressure Angiotensin II causes the kidneys to retain both salt and water in two major ways: 1. Angiotensin II acts directly on the kidneys to cause salt and water retention. 2. Angiotensin II causes the adrenal glands to secrete aldosterone, and the aldosterone in turn increases salt and water reabsorption by the kidney tubules. Thus, whenever excess amounts of angiotensin II circulate in the blood, the entire long-term renal–body fluid mechanism for arterial pressure control automatically becomes set to a higher arterial pressure level than normal. Mechanisms of the Direct Renal Effects of Angiotensin II to Cause Renal Retention of Salt and Water.  Angiotensin has several direct renal effects that make the kidneys retain salt and water. One major effect is to constrict the renal arterioles, thereby diminishing blood flow through the kidneys. The slow flow of blood reduces the pressure in the peritubular capillaries, which causes rapid reabsorption of fluid from the tubules. Angiotensin II also has important direct actions on the tubular cells themselves to increase tubular reabsorption of sodium and water. The total result of all these effects is significant, sometimes decreasing urine output to less than one fifth of normal. Stimulation of Aldosterone Secretion by Angiotensin II, and the Effect of Aldosterone to Increase Salt and Water Retention by the Kidneys.  Angiotensin II is also one of the most powerful stimulators of aldosterone secretion by the adrenal glands, as we shall discuss in relation to body fluid regulation in Chapter 29 and in relation to adrenal gland function in Chapter 77. Therefore, when the renin-angiotensin system becomes activated, the rate of aldosterone secretion usually also increases; and an important subsequent function of aldosterone is to cause marked increase in sodium reabsorption by the kidney tubules, thus increasing the total body ­extracellular 221

Unit IV

the angiotensin I to form the 8-amino acid peptide angiotensin II. This conversion occurs to a great extent in the lungs while the blood flows through the small vessels of the lungs, catalyzed by an enzyme called angiotensin converting enzyme that is present in the endothelium of the lung vessels. Other tissues such as the kidneys and blood vessels also contain converting enzyme and therefore form angiotensin II locally. Angiotensin II is an extremely powerful vasoconstrictor, and it also affects circulatory function in other ways as well. However, it persists in the blood only for 1 or 2 minutes because it is rapidly inactivated by multiple blood and tissue enzymes collectively called angiotensinases. During its persistence in the blood, angiotensin II has two principal effects that can elevate arterial pressure. The first of these, vasoconstriction in many areas of the body, occurs rapidly. Vasoconstriction occurs intensely in the arterioles and much less so in the veins. Constriction of the arterioles increases the total peripheral resistance, thereby raising the arterial pressure, as demonstrated at the bottom of the schema in Figure 19-10. Also, the mild constriction of the veins promotes increased venous return of blood to the heart, thereby helping the heart pump against the increasing pressure. The second principal means by which angiotensin II increases the arterial pressure is to decrease excretion of both salt and water by the kidneys. This slowly increases the extracellular fluid volume, which then increases the arterial pressure during subsequent hours and days. This long-term effect, acting through the extracellular fluid volume mechanism, is even more powerful than the acute vasoconstrictor mechanism in eventually raising the arterial pressure.

Unit IV  The Circulation

fluid sodium. This increased sodium then causes water retention, as already explained, increasing the extracellular fluid volume and leading secondarily to still more ­long-term elevation of the arterial pressure. Thus both the direct effect of angiotensin on the kidney and its effect acting through aldosterone are important in long-term arterial pressure control. However, research in our laboratory has suggested that the direct effect of angiotensin on the kidneys is perhaps three or more times as potent as the indirect effect acting through ­aldosterone—even though the indirect effect is the one most widely known. Quantitative Analysis of Arterial Pressure Changes Caused by Angiotensin II.  Figure 19-12 shows a quantitative analysis of the effect of angiotensin in arterial pressure control. This figure shows two renal output curves, as well as a line depicting a normal level of sodium intake. The left-hand renal output curve is that measured in dogs whose reninangiotensin system had been blocked by an angiotensinconverting enzyme inhibitor drug that blocks the conversion of angiotensin I to angiotensin II. The right-hand curve was measured in dogs infused continuously with angiotensin II at a level about 2.5 times the normal rate of angiotensin formation in the blood. Note the shift of the renal output curve toward higher pressure levels under the influence of angiotensin II. This shift is caused by both the direct effects of angiotensin II on the kidney and the indirect effect acting through aldosterone secretion, as explained earlier. Finally, note the two equilibrium points, one for zero angiotensin showing an arterial pressure level of 75 mm Hg, and one for elevated angiotensin showing a pressure level of 115 mm Hg. Therefore, the effect of angiotensin to cause renal retention of salt and water can have a powerful effect in promoting chronic elevation of the arterial pressure.

Sodium intake and output (times normal)

Angiotensin levels in the blood (times normal) 0

10

One of the most important functions of the renin-angiotensin system is to allow a person to eat either very small or very large amounts of salt without causing great changes in either extracellular fluid volume or arterial pressure. This function is explained by the schema in Figure 19-13, which shows that the initial effect of increased salt intake is to elevate the extracellular fluid volume, in turn elevating the arterial pressure. Then, the increased arterial pressure causes increased blood flow through the kidneys, as well as other effects, which reduce the rate of secretion of renin to a much lower level and lead sequentially to decreased renal retention of salt and water, return of the extracellular fluid volume almost to normal, and, finally, return of the arterial pressure also almost to normal. Thus, the renin-­angiotensin system is an automatic feedback mechanism that helps maintain the arterial pressure at or near the normal level even when salt intake is increased. Or, when salt intake is decreased below normal, exactly opposite effects take place. To emphasize the efficacy of the renin-angiotensin system in controlling arterial pressure, when the system functions normally, the pressure rises no more than 4 to 6 mm Hg in response to as much as a 50-fold increase in salt intake. Conversely, when the renin-angiotensin system is blocked, the same increase in salt intake sometimes causes the pressure to rise 10 times the normal increase, often as much as 50 to 60 mm Hg.

Increased salt intake

2.5 Increased extracellular volume

8

Increased arterial pressure

6

Decreased renin and angiotensin

4

Equilibrium points

2

Decreased renal retention of salt and water Normal

Intake

Return of extracellular volume almost to normal

0 0

60

80

100

120

140

160

Arterial pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 19-12  Effect of two angiotensin II levels in the blood on the renal output curve, showing regulation of the arterial pressure at an equilibrium point of 75 mm Hg when the angiotensin II level is low and at 115 mm Hg when the angiotensin II level is high.

222

Role of the Renin-Angiotensin System in Maintaining a Normal Arterial Pressure Despite Large Variations in Salt Intake

Return of arterial pressure almost to normal

Figure 19-13  Sequential events by which increased salt intake increases the arterial pressure, but feedback decrease in activity of the renin angiotensin system returns the arterial pressure almost to the normal level.

Chapter 19  Role of the Kidneys in Long-Term Control of Arterial Pressure and in Hypertension

Types of Hypertension in Which Angiotensin Is Involved: Hypertension Caused by a ReninSecreting Tumor or by Infusion of Angiotensin II

Renal artery constricted

Constriction released

Systemic arterial pressure

200 Pressure (mm Hg)

1. By constricting the arterioles throughout the entire body, thereby increasing the total peripheral resistance and arterial pressure; this effect occurs within seconds after one begins to infuse angiotensin. 2. By causing the kidneys to retain salt and water; over a period of days, this, too, causes hypertension and is the principal cause of the long-term continuation of the elevated pressure.

Unit IV

Occasionally a tumor of the renin-secreting juxtaglo­ merular cells (the JG cells) occurs and secretes tremendous quantities of renin; in turn, equally large quantities of angiotensin II are formed. In all patients in whom this has occurred, severe hypertension has developed. Also, when large amounts of angiotensin II are infused continuously for days or weeks into animals, similar severe longterm hypertension develops. We have already noted that angiotensin II can increase the arterial pressure in two ways:

150 Distal renal arterial pressure

100

“One-Kidney” Goldblatt Hypertension.  When one kidney is removed and a constrictor is placed on the renal artery of the remaining kidney, as shown in Figure 19-14, the immediate effect is greatly reduced pressure in the renal artery beyond the constrictor, as demonstrated by the dashed curve in the figure. Then, within seconds or minutes, the systemic arterial pressure begins to rise and continues to rise for several days. The pressure usually rises rapidly for the first hour or so, and this is followed by a slower additional rise during the next several days. When the systemic arterial pressure reaches its new stable pressure level, the renal arterial pressure (the dashed curve in the figure) will have returned almost all the way back to normal. The hypertension produced in this way is called “one-kidney” Goldblatt hypertension in honor of Dr. Harry Goldblatt, who first studied the important quantitative features of hypertension caused by renal artery constriction. The early rise in arterial pressure in Goldblatt hypertension is caused by the renin-angiotensin vasoconstrictor mechanism. That is, because of poor blood flow through the kidney after acute constriction of the renal artery, large quantities of renin are secreted by the kidney, as demonstrated by the lowermost curve in Figure 19-14, and this increases angiotensin II and aldosterone in the blood. The angiotensin in turn raises the arterial pressure acutely. The secretion of renin rises to a peak in an hour or so but returns nearly to normal in 5 to 7 days because the renal arterial pressure by that time has also risen back to normal, so the kidney is no longer ischemic. The second rise in arterial pressure is caused by retention of salt and water by the constricted kidney (that is also stimulated by angiotensin II and aldosterone). In 5 to 7 days, the body fluid volume will have increased enough

Times normal

50

7 Renin secretion 1 0 0

4

8

12

Days

Figure 19-14  Effect of placing a constricting clamp on the renal artery of one kidney after the other kidney has been removed. Note the changes in systemic arterial pressure, renal artery pressure distal to the clamp, and rate of renin secretion. The resulting hypertension is called “one-kidney” Goldblatt hypertension.

to raise the arterial pressure to its new sustained level. The quantitative value of this sustained pressure level is determined by the degree of constriction of the renal artery. That is, the aortic pressure must rise high enough so that renal arterial pressure distal to the constrictor is enough to cause normal urine output. A similar scenario occurs in patients with stenosis of the renal artery of a single remaining kidney, as sometimes occurs after a person receives a kidney transplant. Also, functional or pathological increases in resistance of the renal arterioles, due to atherosclerosis or excessive levels of vasoconstrictors, can cause hypertension through the same mechanisms as constriction of the main renal artery.

“Two-Kidney” Goldblatt Hypertension.  Hyper­ tension also can result when the artery to only one kidney is constricted while the artery to the other kidney 223

Unit IV  The Circulation

is normal. This hypertension results from the following mechanism: The constricted kidney secretes renin and also retains salt and water because of decreased renal arterial pressure in this kidney. Then the “normal” opposite kidney retains salt and water because of the renin produced by the ischemic kidney. This renin causes formation of angiotension II and aldosterone, both of which circulate to the opposite kidney and cause it also to retain salt and water. Thus, both kidneys, but for different reasons, become salt and water retainers. Consequently, hypertension develops. The clinical counterpart of “two-kidney Goldblatt” hypertension occurs when there is stenosis of a single renal artery, for example caused by atherosclerosis, in a person who has two kidneys.

Hypertension Caused by Diseased Kidneys That Secrete Renin Chronically.  Often, patchy areas of

one or both kidneys are diseased and become ischemic because of local vascular constrictions, whereas other areas of the kidneys are normal. When this occurs, almost identical effects occur as in the two-kidney type of Goldblatt hypertension. That is, the patchy ischemic kidney tissue secretes renin, and this in turn, acting through the formation of angiotensin II, causes the remaining kidney mass also to retain salt and water. Indeed, one of the most common causes of renal hypertension, especially in older persons, is such patchy ischemic kidney disease.

Other Types of Hypertension Caused by Combinations of Volume Loading and Vasoconstriction Hypertension in the Upper Part of the Body Caused by Coarctation of the Aorta.  One out of every few thousand babies is born with pathological constriction or blockage of the aorta at a point beyond the aortic arterial branches to the head and arms but proximal to the renal arteries, a condition called coarctation of the aorta. When this occurs, blood flow to the lower body is carried by multiple, small collateral arteries in the body wall, with much vascular resistance between the upper aorta and the lower aorta. As a consequence, the arterial pressure in the upper part of the body may be 40 to 50 percent higher than that in the lower body. The mechanism of this upper-body hypertension is almost identical to that of one-kidney Goldblatt hypertension. That is, when a constrictor is placed on the aorta above the renal arteries, the blood pressure in both kidneys at first falls, renin is secreted, angiotensin and aldosterone are formed, and hypertension occurs in the upper body. The arterial pressure in the lower body at the level of the kidneys rises approximately to normal, but high pressure persists in the upper body. The kidneys are no longer ischemic, so secretion of renin and formation of angiotensin and aldosterone return to normal. Likewise, in coarctation of the aorta, the arterial pressure in the lower body is usually almost normal, whereas the pressure in the upper body is far higher than normal.

224

Role of Autoregulation in the Hypertension Caused by Aortic Coarctation.  A significant feature of hypertension caused by aortic coarctation is that blood flow in the arms, where the pressure may be 40 to 60 percent above normal, is almost exactly normal. Also, blood flow in the legs, where the pressure is not elevated, is almost exactly normal. How could this be, with the pressure in the upper body 40 to 60 percent greater than in the lower body? The answer is not that there are differences in vasoconstrictor substances in the blood of the upper and lower body, because the same blood flows to both areas. Likewise, the nervous system innervates both areas of the circulation similarly, so there is no reason to believe that there is a difference in nervous control of the blood vessels. The only reasonable answer is that long-term autoregulation develops so nearly completely that the local blood flow control mechanisms have compensated almost 100 percent for the differences in pressure. The result is that, in both the high-pressure area and the low-pressure area, the local blood flow is controlled almost exactly in accord with the needs of the tissue and not in accord with the level of the pressure. One of the reasons these observations are so important is that they demonstrate how nearly complete the long-term autoregulation process can be. Hypertension in Preeclampsia (Toxemia of ­Preg­nancy).  Approximately 5 to 10 percent of expectant mothers develop a syndrome called preeclampsia (also called toxemia of pregnancy). One of the manifestations of preeclampsia is hypertension that usually subsides after delivery of the baby. Although the precise causes of preeclampsia are not completely understood, ischemia of the placenta and subsequent release by the placenta of toxic factors are believed to play a role in causing many of the manifestations of this disorder, including hypertension in the mother. Substances released by the ischemic placenta, in turn, cause dysfunction of vascular endothelial cells throughout the body, including the blood vessels of the kidneys. This endothelial dysfunction decreases release of nitric oxide and other vasodilator substances, causing vasoconstriction, decreased rate of fluid filtration from the glomeruli into the renal tubules, impaired renal-pressure natriuresis, and development of hypertension. Another pathological abnormality that may contribute to hypertension in preeclampsia is thickening of the kidney glomerular membranes (perhaps caused by an autoimmune process), which also reduces the rate of glomerular fluid filtration. For obvious reasons, the arterial pressure level required to cause normal formation of urine becomes elevated, and the long-term level of arterial pressure becomes correspondingly elevated. These patients are especially prone to extra degrees of hypertension when they have excess salt intake. Neurogenic Hypertension.  Acute neurogenic hyper­tension can be caused by strong stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. For instance, when a person becomes excited for any reason or at times during states of anxiety, the sympathetic system becomes excessively stimulated, peripheral vasoconstriction occurs everywhere in the body, and acute hypertension ensues. Acute Neurogenic Hypertension Caused by Sectio­ning the Baroreceptor Nerves.  Another type of acute neurogenic hypertension occurs when the nerves leading from the baroreceptors are cut or when the tractus solitarius

Unit IV  The Circulation

hypertension is caused mainly by increased renal tubular reabsorption of salt and water due to increased sympathetic nerve activity and increased levels of angiotensin II and aldosterone. However, if hypertension is not effectively treated, there may also be vascular damage in the kidneys that can reduce the glomerular filtration rate and increase the severity of the hypertension. Eventually uncontrolled hypertension associated with obesity can lead to severe vascular injury and complete loss of kidney function.

Graphical Analysis of Arterial Pressure Control in Essential Hypertension.  Figure 19-15 is a graphical

analysis of essential hypertension. The curves of this figure are called sodium-loading renal function curves because the arterial pressure in each instance is increased very slowly, over many days or weeks, by gradually increasing the level of sodium intake. The sodium-loading type of curve can be determined by increasing the level of sodium intake to a new level every few days, then waiting for the renal output of sodium to come into balance with the intake, and at the same time recording the changes in arterial pressure. When this procedure is used in essential hypertensive patients, two types of curves, shown to the right in Figure 19-15, can be recorded in essential hypertensive patients, one called (1) salt-insensitive hypertension and the other (2) salt-sensitive hypertension. Note in both instances that the curves are shifted to the right, to a higher ­pressure level than for normal people. Now, let us plot on this same graph (1) a normal level of salt intake and (2) a high level of salt intake representing 3.5 times the normal intake. In the case of the person with salt-insensitive essential hypertension, the arterial pressure does not increase significantly when changing from normal salt intake to high salt intake. Conversely, in those patients who have

Normal Salt-insensitive Salt intake and output (times normal)

6

Salt-sensitive

5 4

High intake

E

B

B1

3 Normal

2 Normal intake

1

D

Essential hypertension A

Treatment of Essential Hypertension.  Current guide­lines for treating hypertension recommend, as a first step, lifestyle modifications that are aimed at increasing physical activity and weight loss in most patients. Unfortunately, many patients are unable to lose weight, and pharmacological treatment with antihypertensive drugs must be initiated. Two general classes of drugs are used to treat hypertension: (1) vasodilator drugs that increase renal blood flow and (2) natriuretic or diuretic drugs that decrease tubular reabsorption of salt and water. Vasodilator drugs usually cause vasodilation in many other tissues of the body, as well as in the kidneys. Different ones act in one of the following ways: (1) by inhibiting sympathetic nervous signals to the kidneys or by blocking the action of the sympathetic transmitter substance on the renal vasculature and renal tubules, (2) by directly relaxing the smooth muscle of the renal vasculature, or (3) by blocking the action of the renin-angiotensin system on the renal vasculature or renal tubules. Those drugs that reduce reabsorption of salt and water by the renal tubules include especially drugs that block active transport of sodium through the tubular wall; this blockage in turn also prevents the reabsorption of water, as explained earlier in the chapter. These natriuretic or diuretic drugs are discussed in greater detail in Chapter 31.

C

0 0

50

100

150

Arterial pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 19-15  Analysis of arterial pressure regulation in (1) nonsalt-sensitive essential hypertension and (2) salt-sensitive essential hypertension. (Redrawn from Guyton AC, Coleman TG, Young DB, et al: Salt balance and long-term blood pressure control. Annu Rev Med 31:15, 1980. With permission, from the Annual Review of Medicine, © 1980, by Annual Reviews http://www.AnnualReviews.org.)

226

s­ alt-sensitive essential hypertension, the high salt intake significantly exacerbates the hypertension. Two additional points should be emphasized: (1) Salt sensitivity of blood pressure is not an all-or-none characteristic—it is a quantitative characteristic, with some individuals being more salt sensitive than others. (2) Salt sensitivity of blood pressure is not a fixed characteristic; instead, blood pressure usually becomes more salt sensitive as a person ages, especially after 50 or 60 years of age. The reason for the difference between salt-insensitive essential hypertension and salt-sensitive hypertension is presumably related to structural or functional differences in the kidneys of these two types of hypertensive patients. For example, salt-sensitive hypertension may occur with different types of chronic renal disease due to gradual loss of the functional units of the kidneys (the nephrons) or to normal aging as discussed in Chapter 31. Abnormal function of the renin-angiotensin system can also cause blood pressure to become salt sensitive, as discussed previously in this chapter.

Summary of the Integrated, Multifaceted System for Arterial Pressure Regulation By now, it is clear that arterial pressure is regulated not by a single pressure controlling system but instead by several interrelated systems, each of which performs a specific function. For instance, when a person bleeds severely

Chapter 19  Role of the Kidneys in Long-Term Control of Arterial Pressure and in Hypertension

“Primary (Essential) Hypertension” About 90 to 95 percent of all people who have hypertension are said to have “primary hypertension,” also widely known as “essential hypertension” by many clinicians. These terms mean simply that the hypertension is of unknown origin, in contrast to those forms of hypertension that are secondary to known causes, such as renal artery stenosis or monogenic forms of hypertension.

In most patients, excess weight gain and sedentary lifestyle appear to play a major role in causing hypertension. The majority of patients with hypertension are overweight, and studies of different populations suggest that excess weight gain and obesity may account for as much as 65 to 75 percent of the risk for developing primary hypertension. Clinical studies have clearly shown the value of weight loss for reducing blood pressure in most patients with hypertension. In fact, clinical guidelines for treating hypertension recommend increased physical activity and weight loss as a first step in treating most patients with hypertension. Some of the characteristics of primary hypertension caused by excess weight gain and obesity include: 1. Cardiac output is increased due, in part, to the additional blood flow required for the extra adipose tissue. However, blood flow in the heart, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and skeletal muscle also increases with weight gain due to increased metabolic rate and growth of the organs and tissues in response to their increased metabolic demands. As the hypertension is sustained for many months and years, total peripheral vascular resistance may be increased. 2. Sympathetic nerve activity, especially in the kidneys, is increased in overweight patients. The causes of increased sympathetic activity in obesity are not fully understood, but recent studies suggest that hormones, such as leptin, released from fat cells may directly stimulate multiple regions of the hypothalamus, which, in turn, have an excitatory influence on the vasomotor centers of the brain medulla. 3. Angiotensin II and aldosterone levels are increased twofold to threefold in many obese patients. This may be caused partly by increased sympathetic nerve stimulation, which increases renin release by the kidneys and therefore formation of angiotensin II, which, in turn, stimulates the adrenal gland to secrete aldosterone. 4. The renal-pressure natriuresis mechanism is impaired, and the kidneys will not excrete adequate amounts of salt and water unless the arterial pressure is high or unless kidney function is somehow improved. In other words, if the mean arterial pressure in the essential hypertensive person is 150 mm Hg, acute reduction of the mean arterial pressure artificially to the normal value of 100 mm Hg (but without otherwise altering renal function except for the decreased pressure) will cause almost total anuria, and the person will retain salt and water until the pressure rises back to the elevated value of 150 mm Hg. Chronic reductions in arterial pressure with effective antihypertensive therapies, however, usually do not cause marked salt and water retention by the kidneys because these therapies also improve renal-pressure natriuresis, as discussed later. Experimental studies in obese animals and obese patients suggest that impaired renal-pressure natriuresis in obesity 225

Unit IV

is destroyed in each side of the medulla oblongata (these are the areas where the nerves from the carotid and ­aortic baroreceptors connect in the brain stem). The sudden ­cessation of normal nerve signals from the baroreceptors has the same effect on the nervous pressure control mechanisms as a sudden reduction of the arterial pressure in the aorta and carotid arteries. That is, loss of the normal inhibitory effect on the vasomotor center caused by normal baroreceptor nervous signals allows the vasomotor center suddenly to become extremely active and the mean arterial pressure to increase from 100 mm Hg to as high as 160 mm  Hg. The pressure returns to nearly normal within about 2  days because the response of the vasomotor center to the absent baroreceptor signal fades  away, which  is called central “resetting” of the baroreceptor pressure control mechanism. Therefore, the neurogenic hypertension caused by sectioning the baroreceptor nerves is mainly an acute type of hypertension, not a chronic type. Genetic Causes of Hypertension.  Spontaneous hereditary hypertension has been observed in several strains of animals, including different strains of rats, rabbits, and at least one strain of dogs. In the strain of rats that has been studied to the greatest extent, the Okamoto spontaneously hypertensive rat strain, there is evidence that in early development of the hypertension, the sympathetic nervous system is considerably more active than in normal rats. In the later stages of this type of hypertension, structural changes have been observed in the nephrons of the kidneys: (1) increased preglomerular renal arterial resistance and (2) decreased permeability of the glomerular membranes. These structural changes could also contribute to the longterm continuance of the hypertension. In other strains of hypertensive rats, impaired renal function also has been observed. In humans, several different gene mutations have been identified that can cause hypertension. These forms of hypertension are called monogenic hypertension because they are caused by mutation of a single gene. An interesting feature of these genetic disorders is that they all cause excessive salt and water reabsorption by the renal tubules. In some cases the increased reabsorption is due to gene mutations that directly increase transport of sodium or chloride in the renal tubular epithelial cells. In other instances, the gene mutations cause increased synthesis or activity of hormones that stimulate renal tubular salt and water reabsorption. Thus, in all monogenic hypertensive disorders discovered thus far, the final common pathway to hypertension appears to be increased salt reabsorption and expansion of extracellular fluid volume. Monogenic hypertension, however, is rare and all of the known forms together account for less than 1% of human hypertension.

Chapter 19  Role of the Kidneys in Long-Term Control of Arterial Pressure and in Hypertension

Rapidly Acting Pressure Control Mechanisms, Acting Within Seconds or Minutes.  The rapidly

Renin-angiotensin-vasoconstriction •

isc

he m ic

Baroreceptors

Chemore cepto

re sp on se

rs tion a x ela ss r y lar id ift Stre pil Flu sh Ca

Renal–b

CNS

volume lood pr e controsl sure

11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

¥ !! Acute change in pressure at this time

Maximum feedback gain at optimal pressure

acting pressure control mechanisms are almost entirely acute nervous reflexes or other nervous responses. Note in Figure 19-16 the three mechanisms that show responses within seconds. They are (1) the baroreceptor feedback mechanism, (2) the central nervous system ischemic

sterone Aldo

0 15 30 1 2 4 8 1632 1 2 4 816 1 2 4 8 16 • Seconds Minutes Hours Days Time after sudden change in pressure

Figure 19-16  Approximate potency of various arterial pressure control mechanisms at different time intervals after onset of a disturbance to the arterial pressure. Note especially the infinite gain (•) of the renal body fluid pressure control mechanism that occurs after a few weeks’ time. (Redrawn from Guyton AC: Arterial Pressure and Hypertension. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1980.)

mechanism, and (3) the chemoreceptor mechanism. Not only do these mechanisms begin to react within seconds, but they are also powerful. After any acute fall in pressure, as might be caused by severe hemorrhage, the nervous mechanisms combine (1) to cause constriction of the veins and transfer of blood into the heart, (2) to cause increased heart rate and contractility of the heart to provide greater pumping capacity by the heart, and (3) to cause constriction of most peripheral arterioles to impede flow of blood out of the arteries; all these effects occur almost instantly to raise the arterial pressure back into a survival range. When the pressure suddenly rises too high, as might occur in response to rapid transfusion of excess blood, the same control mechanisms operate in the reverse direction, again returning the pressure back toward normal.

Pressure Control Mechanisms That Act After Many Minutes.  Several pressure control mechanisms

exhibit significant responses only after a few minutes following acute arterial pressure change. Three of these, shown in Figure 19-16, are (1) the renin-angiotensin vasoconstrictor mechanism, (2) stress-relaxation of the vasculature, and (3) shift of fluid through the tissue capillary walls in and out of the circulation to readjust the blood volume as needed. We have already described at length the role of the renin-angiotensin vasoconstrictor system to provide a semiacute means for increasing the arterial pressure when this is necessary. The stress-relaxation mechanism is demonstrated by the following example: When the pressure in the blood vessels becomes too high, they become stretched and keep on stretching more and more for minutes or hours; as a result, the pressure in the vessels falls toward normal. This continuing stretch of the vessels, called stress-relaxation, can serve as an intermediate-term pressure “buffer.” The capillary fluid shift mechanism means simply that any time capillary pressure falls too low, fluid is absorbed from the tissues through the capillary membranes and into the circulation, thus building up the blood volume and increasing the pressure in the circulation. Conversely, when the capillary pressure rises too high, fluid is lost out of the circulation into the tissues, thus reducing the blood volume, as well as virtually all the pressures throughout the circulation. These three intermediate mechanisms become mostly activated within 30 minutes to several hours. During this time, the nervous mechanisms usually become less and less effective, which explains the importance of these nonnervous, intermediate time pressure control measures.

Long-Term Mechanisms for Arterial Pressure Regulation.  The goal of this chapter has been to explain

the role of the kidneys in long-term control of arterial pressure. To the far right in Figure 19-16 is shown the renal–blood volume pressure control mechanism (which is the same as the renal–body fluid pressure control 227

Unit IV

so that the pressure falls suddenly, two problems confront the pressure control system. The first is survival, that is, to return the arterial pressure immediately to a high enough level that the person can live through the acute episode. The second is to return the blood volume and arterial eventually to their normal levels so that the circulatory system can reestablish full normality, not merely back to the levels required for survival. In Chapter 18, we saw that the first line of defense against acute changes in arterial pressure is the nervous control system. In this chapter, we have emphasized a second line of defense achieved mainly by kidney mechanisms for long-term control of arterial pressure. However, there are other pieces to the puzzle. Figure 19-16 helps to put these together. Figure 19-16 shows the approximate immediate (seconds and minutes) and long-term (hours and days) control responses, expressed as feedback gain, of eight arterial pressure control mechanisms. These mechanisms can be divided into three groups: (1) those that react rapidly, within seconds or minutes; (2) those that respond over an intermediate time period, minutes or hours; and (3) those that provide long-term arterial pressure regulation, days, months, and years. Let us see how they fit together as a total, integrated system for pressure control.

Unit IV  The Circulation

mechanism), demonstrating that it takes a few hours to begin showing significant response. Yet it eventually develops a feedback gain for control of arterial pressure nearly equal to infinity. This means that this mechanism can eventually return the arterial pressure nearly all the way back, not merely partway back, to that pressure level that provides normal output of salt and water by the kidneys. By now, the reader should be familiar with this concept, which has been the major point of this chapter. Many factors can affect the pressure-regulating level of the renal–body fluid mechanism. One of these, shown in Figure 19-16, is aldosterone. A decrease in arterial pressure leads within minutes to an increase in aldosterone secretion, and over the next hour or days, this plays an important role in modifying the pressure control characteristics of the renal–body fluid mechanism. Especially important is interaction of the reninangiotensin system with the aldosterone and renal fluid mechanisms. For instance, a person’s salt intake varies tremendously from one day to another. We have seen in this chapter that the salt intake can decrease to as little as onetenth normal or can increase to 10 to 15 times normal and yet the regulated level of the mean arterial pressure will change only a few mm Hg if the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system is fully operative. But, without a functional renin-­angiotensin-aldosterone system, blood pressure becomes very sensitive to changes in salt intake. Thus, arterial pressure control begins with the lifesaving measures of the nervous pressure controls, then continues with the sustaining characteristics of the intermediate pressure controls, and, finally, is stabilized at the long-term pressure level by the renal–body fluid mechanism. This long-term mechanism in turn has multiple interactions with the renin-angiotensin-­aldosterone system, the nervous ­system, and several other factors that

228

­ rovide special blood pressure control capabilities for p special purposes.

Bibliography Chobanian AV, Bakris GL, Black HR, et al: Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. National High Blood Pressure Education Program Coordinating Committee. Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on prevention, detection, evaluation, and treatment of high blood pressure, Hypertension 42:1206, 2003. Coffman TM, Crowley SD: Kidney in hypertension: Guyton redux, Hypertension 51:811, 2008. Cowley AW Jr: Long-term control of arterial blood pressure, Physiol Rev 72:231, 1992. Guyton AC: Arterial pressure and hypertension, Philadelphia, 1980, WB Saunders. Guyton AC: Blood pressure control—special role of the kidneys and body fluids, Science 252:1813, 1991. Hall JE: The kidney, hypertension, and obesity, Hypertension 41:625, 2003. Hall JE, Brands MW, Henegar JR: Angiotensin II and long-term arterial pressure regulation: the overriding dominance of the kidney, J Am Soc Nephrol 10(Suppl 12):S258, 1999. Hall JE, Granger JP, Hall ME, et al: Pathophysiology of hypertension. In Fuster V, O’Rourke RA, Walsh RA, et al, eds.: Hurst’s The Heart, ed 12, New York, 2008, McGraw-Hill Medical, pp 1570. Hall JE, da Silva AA, Brandon E, et al: Pathophysiology of obesity hypertension and target organ injury. In Lip GYP, Hall JE, eds.: Comprehensive Hypertension, New York, 2007, Elsevier, pp 447. LaMarca BD, Gilbert J, Granger JP: Recent progress toward the understanding of the pathophysiology of hypertension during preeclampsia, Hypertension 51:982, 2008. Lohmeier TE, Hildebrandt DA, Warren S, et al: Recent insights into the interactions between the baroreflex and the kidneys in hypertension, Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 288:R828, 2005. Oparil S, Zaman MA, Calhoun DA: Pathogenesis of hypertension, Ann Intern Med 139:761, 2003. Reckelhoff JF, Fortepiani LA: Novel mechanisms responsible for postmenopausal hypertension, Hypertension 43:918, 2004. Rossier BC, Schild L: Epithelial sodium channel: mendelian versus essential hypertension, Hypertension 52:595, 2008.

chapter 20

Cardiac output is the quantity of blood pumped into the aorta each minute by the heart. This is also the quantity of blood that flows through the circulation. Cardiac output is one of the most important factors that we have to consider in relation to the circulation because it is the sum of the blood flows to all of the tissues of the body. Venous return is the quantity of blood flowing from the veins into the right atrium each minute. The venous return and the cardiac output must equal each other except for a few heartbeats at a time when blood is temporarily stored in or removed from the heart and lungs.

Normal Values for Cardiac Output at Rest and During Activity Cardiac output varies widely with the level of activity of the body. The following factors, among others, directly affect cardiac output: (1) the basic level of body metabolism, (2) whether the person is exercising, (3) the person’s age, and (4) size of the body. For young, healthy men, resting cardiac output averages about 5.6 L/min. For women, this value is about 4.9 L/min. When one considers the factor of age as well—because with increasing age, body activity and mass of some tissues (e.g., skeletal muscle) diminish—the average cardiac output for the resting adult, in round numbers, is often stated to be about 5 L/min. Cardiac Index Experiments have shown that the cardiac output increases approximately in proportion to the surface area of the body. Therefore, cardiac output is frequently stated in terms of  the cardiac index, which is the cardiac output per square meter of body surface area. The normal human being weighing 70 kilograms has a body surface area of about 1.7 square meters, which means that the normal average ­cardiac index for adults is about 3 L/min/m2 of body s­ urface area.

Effect of Age on Cardiac Output.  Figure 20-1 shows the cardiac output, expressed as cardiac index, at different ages. Rising rapidly to a level greater than 4 L/min/m2 at age 10 years, the cardiac index declines to about 2.4 L/min/m2 at age 80 years. We explain later in the chapter that the cardiac output is regulated throughout life almost directly in proportion to the overall bodily metabolic activity. Therefore, the declining cardiac index is indicative of declining activity or declining muscle mass with age.

Control of Cardiac Output by Venous Return—Role of the Frank-Starling Mechanism of the Heart When one states that cardiac output is controlled by venous return, this means that it is not the heart itself that is normally the primary controller of cardiac output. Instead, it is the various factors of the peripheral circulation that affect flow of blood into the heart from the veins, called venous return, that are the primary controllers. The main reason peripheral factors are usually more important than the heart itself in controlling cardiac output is that the heart has a built-in mechanism that normally allows it to pump automatically whatever amount of blood that flows into the right atrium from the veins. This mechanism, called the Frank-Starling law of the heart, was discussed in Chapter 9. Basically, this law states that when increased quantities of blood flow into the heart, the increased blood stretches the walls of the heart chambers. As a result of the stretch, the cardiac muscle contracts with increased force, and this empties the extra blood that has entered from the systemic circulation. Therefore, the blood that flows into the heart is automatically pumped without delay into the aorta and flows again through the circulation. Another important factor, discussed in Chapter 10, is that stretching the heart causes the heart to pump faster—at an increased heart rate. That is, stretch of the sinus node in the wall of the right atrium has a direct effect on the rhythmicity of the node itself to increase heart rate as much as 10 to 15 percent. In addition, the 229

Unit IV

Cardiac Output, Venous Return, and Their Regulation

1

25

15

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

Age in years

Figure 20-1  Cardiac index for the human being (cardiac output per square meter of surface area) at different ages. (Redrawn from Guyton AC, Jones CE, Coleman TB: Circulatory Physiology: Cardiac Output and Its Regulation, 2nd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1973.)

stretched right atrium initiates a nervous reflex called the Bainbridge reflex, passing first to the vasomotor center of the brain and then back to the heart by way of the sympathetic nerves and vagi, also to increase the heart rate. Under most normal unstressful conditions, the cardiac output is controlled almost entirely by peripheral factors that determine venous return. However, we discuss later in the chapter that if the returning blood does become more than the heart can pump, then the heart becomes the limiting factor that determines cardiac output.

Cardiac Output Regulation Is the Sum of Blood Flow Regulation in All the Local Tissues of the Body—Tissue Metabolism Regulates Most Local Blood Flow

1

5 0

0 0 400 800 1200 1600 Work output during exercise (kg-m/min)

0

Figure 20-2  Effect of increasing levels of exercise to increase cardiac output (red solid line) and oxygen consumption (blue dashed line). (Redrawn from Guyton AC, Jones CE, Coleman TB: Circulatory Physiology: Cardiac Output and Its Regulation, 2nd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1973.)

to form the venous return, and the heart automatically pumps this returning blood back into the arteries to flow around the system again.

Effect of Total Peripheral Resistance on the Long-Term Cardiac Output Level.  Figure 20-3 is the

same as Figure 19-6. It is repeated here to illustrate an extremely important principle in cardiac output control: Under many conditions, the long-term cardiac output level varies reciprocally with changes in total peripheral resistance, as long as the arterial pressure is unchanged. Note in Figure  20-3 that when the total peripheral resistance is exactly normal (at the 100 percent mark in the figure), the cardiac output is also normal. Then, when

200

rd Ca

The venous return to the heart is the sum of all the local blood flows through all the individual tissue segments of the peripheral circulation. Therefore, it follows that cardiac output regulation is the sum of all the local blood flow regulations. The mechanisms of local blood flow regulation were discussed in Chapter 17. In most tissues, blood flow increases mainly in proportion to each tissue’s metabolism. For instance, local blood flow almost always increases when tissue oxygen consumption increases; this effect is demonstrated in Figure 20-2 for different levels of exercise. Note that at each increasing level of work output during exercise, the oxygen consumption and the cardiac output increase in parallel to each other. To summarize, cardiac output is determined by the sum of all the various factors throughout the body that control local blood flow. All the local blood flows ­summate

2

10

150

Anemia

10

3

Beriberi AV shunts Hyperthyroidism

0 0

4

20

1

0

230

5

Oxygen consumption

Oxygen consumption (L/min)

2

30

100

ia c

Hypothyroidism

2

10

Cardiac output and cardiac index

Removal of both arms and legs

3

15

35

Pulmonary disease Paget’s disease Normal

3

Cardiac index (L/min/m2)

4

Arterial pressure or cardiac output (percentage of normal)

Cardiac index (L/min/m2)

4

Cardiac output (L/min)

Unit IV  The Circulation

140

160

out

put

50

0 40

60

80

100

120

Total peripheral resistance (percentage of normal)

Figure 20-3  Chronic effect of different levels of total peripheral resistance on cardiac output, showing a reciprocal relationship between total peripheral resistance and cardiac output. (Redrawn from Guyton AC: Arterial Pressure and Hypertension. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1980.)

Chapter 20  Cardiac Output, Venous Return, and Their Regulation

Cardiac Output =

Arterial Pressure Total Peripheral Resistance

The meaning of this formula, and of Figure 20-3, is simply the following: Any time the long-term level of total peripheral resistance changes (but no other functions of the circulation change), the cardiac output changes quantitatively in exactly the opposite direction.

The Heart Has Limits for the Cardiac Output That It Can Achieve There are definite limits to the amount of blood that the heart can pump, which can be expressed quantitatively in the form of cardiac output curves. Figure 20-4 demonstrates the normal cardiac output curve, showing the cardiac output per minute at each level of right atrial pressure. This is one type of cardiac function curve, which was discussed in Chapter 9. Note that the plateau level of this normal cardiac output curve is about 13 L/min, 2.5 times the normal cardiac output of about 5 L/min. This means that the normal human heart, functioning without any special stimulation, can pump an amount of venous return up to about 2.5 times the normal venous return before the heart becomes a limiting factor in the control of cardiac output. Shown in Figure 20-4 are several other cardiac output curves for hearts that are not pumping normally. The uppermost curves are for hypereffective hearts that are 25

Cardiac output (L/min)

20

Hypereffective

pumping better than normal. The lowermost curves are for hypoeffective hearts that are pumping at levels below normal.

Factors That Cause a Hypereffective Heart Two types of factors can make the heart a better pump than normal: (1) nervous stimulation and (2) hypertrophy of the heart muscle. Effect of Nervous Excitation to Increase Heart Pumping.  In Chapter 9, we saw that a combination of (1) sympathetic stimulation and (2) parasympathetic inhibition does two things to increase the pumping effectiveness of the heart: (1) It greatly increases the heart rate—sometimes, in young people, from the normal level of 72 beats/min up to 180 to 200 beats/min—and (2) it increases the strength of heart contraction (which is called increased “contractility”) to twice its normal strength. Combining these two effects, maximal nervous excitation of the heart can raise the plateau level of the cardiac output curve to almost twice the plateau of the normal curve, as shown by the 25-L/min level of the uppermost curve in Figure 20-4. Increased Pumping Effectiveness Caused by Heart Hypertrophy.  A long-term increased workload, but not so much excess load that it damages the heart, causes the heart muscle to increase in mass and contractile strength in the same way that heavy exercise causes skeletal muscles to hypertrophy. For instance, it is common for the hearts of marathon runners to be increased in mass by 50 to 75 percent. This increases the plateau level of the cardiac output curve, sometimes 60 to 100 percent, and therefore allows the heart to pump much greater than usual amounts of cardiac output. When one combines nervous excitation of the heart and hypertrophy, as occurs in marathon runners, the total effect can allow the heart to pump as much 30 to 40 L/min, about 2½ times the level that can be achieved in the average person; this increased level of pumping is one of the most important factors in determining the runner’s running time.

Factors That Cause a Hypoeffective Heart 15

Normal

Any factor that decreases the heart’s ability to pump blood causes hypoeffectivity. Some of the factors that can do this are the following:

• Increased arterial pressure against which the heart

10

must pump, such as in hypertension

Hypoeffective

• Inhibition of nervous excitation of the heart • Pathological factors that cause abnormal heart rhythm

5

or rate of heartbeat

0

−4

0

+4

+8

Right atrial pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 20-4  Cardiac output curves for the normal heart and for hypoeffective and hypereffective hearts. (Redrawn from Guyton AC, Jones CE, Coleman TB: Circulatory Physiology: Cardiac Output and Its Regulation, 2nd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1973.)

• • • • •

Coronary artery blockage, causing a “heart attack” Valvular heart disease Congenital heart disease Myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle Cardiac hypoxia 231

Unit IV

the total peripheral resistance increases above normal, the cardiac output falls; conversely, when the total peripheral resistance decreases, the cardiac output increases. One can easily understand this by reconsidering one of the forms of Ohm’s law, as expressed in Chapter 14:

Unit IV  The Circulation

Role of the Nervous System in Controlling Cardiac Output Importance of the Nervous System in Maintaining Arterial Pressure When Peripheral Blood Vessels Are Dilated and Venous Return and Cardiac Output Increase Figure 20-5 shows an important difference in cardiac output control with and without a functioning autonomic nervous system. The solid curves demonstrate the effect in the normal dog of intense dilation of the peripheral blood vessels caused by administering the drug dinitrophenol, which increased the metabolism of virtually all tissues of the body about fourfold. Note that with nervous control to keep the arterial pressure from falling, dilating all the peripheral blood vessels caused almost no change in arterial pressure but increased the cardiac output almost fourfold. However, after autonomic control of the nervous system had been blocked, none of the normal circulatory reflexes for maintaining the arterial pressure could function. Vasodilation of the vessels with dinitrophenol (dashed curves) then caused a profound fall in arterial pressure to about onehalf normal, and the cardiac output rose only 1.6-fold instead of 4-fold. Thus, maintenance of a normal arterial pressure by the nervous reflexes, by mechanisms explained in Chapter 18, is essential to achieve high cardiac outputs when the peripheral tissues dilate their vessels to increase the venous return. Effect of the Nervous System to Increase the Arterial Pressure During Exercise.  During exercise, intense increase in metabolism in active skeletal muscles acts directly on the muscle arterioles to relax them and to allow adequate oxygen and other nutrients needed With nervous control

Arterial pressure (mm Hg)

Cardiac output (L/min)

Without nervous control 6 5 4 3 2 0

Dinitrophenol

100 75 50 0 0

10

20

30

Minutes

Figure 20-5  Experiment in a dog to demonstrate the importance of nervous maintenance of the arterial pressure as a prerequisite for cardiac output control. Note that with pressure control, the metabolic stimulant dinitrophenol increases cardiac output greatly; without pressure control, the arterial pressure falls and the cardiac output rises very little. (Drawn from experiments by Dr. M. Banet.)

232

to sustain muscle contraction. Obviously, this greatly decreases the total peripheral resistance, which normally would decrease the arterial pressure as well. However, the nervous system immediately compensates. The same brain activity that sends motor signals to the muscles sends simultaneous signals into the autonomic nervous centers of the brain to excite circulatory activity, causing large vein constriction, increased heart rate, and increased contractility of the heart. All these changes acting together increase the arterial pressure above normal, which in turn forces still more blood flow through the active muscles. In summary, when local tissue blood vessels dilate and thereby increase venous return and cardiac output above normal, the nervous system plays an exceedingly important role in preventing the arterial pressure from falling to disastrously low levels. In fact, during exercise, the nervous system goes even further, providing additional signals to raise the arterial pressure even above normal, which serves to increase the cardiac output an extra 30 to 100 percent. Pathologically High or Low Cardiac Outputs In healthy humans, the average cardiac outputs are surprisingly constant from one person to another. However, multiple clinical abnormalities can cause either high or low cardiac outputs. Some of the more important of these are shown in Figure 20-6.

High Cardiac Output Caused by Reduced Total Peripheral Resistance The left side of Figure 20-6 identifies conditions that commonly cause cardiac outputs higher than normal. One of the distinguishing features of these conditions is that they all result from chronically reduced total peripheral resistance. None of them result from excessive excitation of the heart itself, which we will explain subsequently. For the present, let us look at some of the conditions that can decrease the peripheral resistance and at the same time increase the cardiac output to above normal. 1. Beriberi. This disease is caused by insufficient quantity of the vitamin thiamine (vitamin B1) in the diet. Lack of this vitamin causes diminished ability of the tissues to use some cellular nutrients, and the local tissue blood flow mechanisms in turn cause marked compensatory peripheral vasodilation. Sometimes the total peripheral resistance decreases to as little as one-half ­normal. Consequently, the long-term levels of venous return and cardiac output also often increase to twice normal. 2. Arteriovenous fistula (shunt). Earlier, we pointed out that whenever a fistula (also called an AV shunt) occurs between a major artery and a major vein, tremendous amounts of blood flow directly from the artery into the vein. This, too, greatly decreases the total peripheral resistance and, likewise, increases the venous return and cardiac output.

Chapter 20  Cardiac Output, Venous Return, and Their Regulation 200

7

175

6

100

3

2 Cardiac shock (7)

Traumatic shock (4)

Severe valve disease (29)

Mild shock (4)

Myocardial infarction (22)

Mild valve disease (31)

Hypertension (47)

Control (young adults) (308)

Paget’s disease (9)

Pregnancy (46)

Pulmonary disease (29)

Anxiety (21)

0

Beriberi (5)

50

Anemia (75)

75

Hyperthyroidism (29)

Average 45-year-old adult

Cardiac index (L/min/m2)

4 Control (young adults)

AV shunts (33)

Cardiac output (percent of control)

5

125

25

Unit IV

150

1

0

Figure 20-6  Cardiac output in different pathological conditions. The numbers in parentheses indicate number of patients studied in each condition. (Redrawn from Guyton AC, Jones CE, Coleman TB: Circulatory Physiology: Cardiac Output and Its Regulation, 2nd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1973.) 3. Hyperthyroidism. In hyperthyroidism, the metabolism of most tissues of the body becomes greatly increased. Oxygen usage increases, and vasodilator products are released from the tissues. Therefore, the total peripheral resistance decreases markedly because of the local tissue blood flow control reactions throughout the body; consequently, the venous return and cardiac output often increase to 40 to 80 percent above normal.

­derangements. The effects of several of these are shown on the right in Figure 20-6, demonstrating the low cardiac outputs that result. When the cardiac output falls so low that the tissues throughout the body begin to suffer nutritional deficiency, the condition is called cardiac shock. This is discussed fully in Chapter 22 in relation to cardiac failure.

4. Anemia. In anemia, two peripheral effects greatly decrease the total peripheral resistance. One of these is reduced ­viscosity of the blood, resulting from the decreased concentration of red blood cells. The other is diminished delivery of oxygen to the tissues, which causes local vasodilation. As a consequence, the cardiac output increases greatly.

Decrease in Cardiac Output Caused by Noncardiac Peripheral Factors—Decreased Venous Return.  Anything that interferes with venous return also

Any other factor that decreases the total peripheral resistance chronically also increases the cardiac output if arterial pressure does not decrease too much.

Low Cardiac Output Figure 20-6 shows at the far right several conditions that cause abnormally low cardiac output. These conditions fall into two categories: (1) those abnormalities that cause the pumping effectiveness of the heart to fall too low and (2) those that cause venous return to fall too low.

Decreased Cardiac Output Caused by Cardiac Factors.  Whenever the heart becomes severely dam-

aged, regardless of the cause, its limited level of pumping may fall below that needed for adequate blood flow to the tissues. Some examples of this include (1) severe coronary blood vessel blockage and consequent myocardial infarction, (2) severe valvular heart disease, (3) myocarditis, (4) cardiac tamponade, and (5) cardiac metabolic

can lead to decreased cardiac output. Some of these factors are the following:

1. Decreased blood volume. By far, the most common noncardiac peripheral factor that leads to decreased cardiac output is decreased blood volume, resulting most often from hemorrhage. It is clear why this condition decreases the cardiac output: Loss of blood decreases the filling of the vascular system to such a low level that there is not enough blood in the peripheral vessels to create peripheral vascular pressures high enough to push the blood back to the heart. 2. Acute venous dilation. On some occasions, the peripheral veins become acutely vasodilated. This results most often when the sympathetic nervous system suddenly becomes inactive. For instance, fainting often results from sudden loss of sympathetic nervous system activity, which causes the peripheral capacitative vessels, especially the veins, to dilate markedly. This decreases the filling pressure of the vascular system because the blood volume can no longer create adequate pressure in the now flaccid peripheral blood vessels. As a result, the blood “pools” in the vessels and does not return to the heart. 233

Unit IV  The Circulation

A More Quantitative Analysis of Cardiac Output Regulation Our discussion of cardiac output regulation thus far is adequate for understanding the factors that control cardiac output in most simple conditions. However, to understand cardiac output regulation in especially stressful situations, such as the extremes of exercise, cardiac failure, and circulatory shock, a more complex quantitative analysis is presented in the following sections. To perform the more quantitative analysis, it is necessary to distinguish separately the two primary factors concerned with cardiac output regulation: (1) the pumping ability of the heart, as represented by cardiac output curves, and (2) the peripheral factors that affect flow of blood from the veins into the heart, as represented by venous return curves. Then one can put these curves together in a quantitative way to show how they interact with each other to determine cardiac output, venous return, and right atrial pressure at the same time.

Cardiac Output Curves Used in the Quantitative Analysis Some of the cardiac output curves used to depict quantitative heart pumping effectiveness have already been shown in Figure 20-4. However, an additional set of curves is required to show the effect on cardiac output caused by changing external pressures on the outside of the heart, as explained in the next section. 234

No

5

H mm = +2

g e onad amp iac t d r a C

ssur e

10

Hg

l pre

Intra pleur al pres r ma sure l (intr =– aple 5 ural p res .5 Intr su aple r ural press ure = –2 mm

Hg m 4) m =– e

Int rap leur a

15 Cardiac output (L/min)

3. Obstruction of the large veins. On rare occasions, the large veins leading into the heart become obstructed, so the blood in the peripheral vessels cannot flow back into the heart. Consequently, the cardiac output falls markedly. 4. Decreased tissue mass, especially decreased skeletal muscle mass. With normal aging or with prolonged periods of physical inactivity, there is usually a reduction in the size of the skeletal muscles. This, in turn, decreases the total oxygen consumption and blood flow needs of the muscles, resulting in decreases in skeletal muscle blood flow and cardiac output. 5. Decreased metabolic rate of the tissues. If tissue metabolic rate is reduced, such as occurs in skeletal muscle during prolonged bed rest, the oxygen consumption and nutrition needs of the tissues will also be lower. This decreases blood flow to the tissues, resulting in reduced cardiac output. Other conditions, such as hypothyroidism, may also reduce metabolic rate and therefore tissue blood flow and cardiac output. Regardless of the cause of low cardiac output, whether it be a peripheral factor or a cardiac factor, if ever the cardiac output falls below that level required for adequate nutrition of the tissues, the person is said to suffer ­circulatory shock. This condition can be lethal within a few minutes to a few hours. Circulatory shock is such an important clinical problem that it is discussed in detail in Chapter 24.

0 –4

0 +4 +8 +12 Right atrial pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 20-7  Cardiac output curves at different levels of intrapleural pressure and at different degrees of cardiac tamponade. (Redrawn from Guyton AC, Jones CE, Coleman TB: Circulatory Physiology: Cardiac Output and Its Regulation, 2nd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1973.)

Effect of External Pressure Outside the Heart on Cardiac Output Curves.  Figure 20-7 shows the effect of

changes in external cardiac pressure on the cardiac output curve. The normal external pressure is equal to the normal intrapleural pressure (the pressure in the chest cavity), which is −4 mm Hg. Note in the figure that a rise in intrapleural pressure, to −2 mm Hg, shifts the entire cardiac output curve to the right by the same amount. This shift occurs because to fill the cardiac chambers with blood requires an extra 2 mm Hg right atrial pressure to overcome the increased pressure on the outside of the heart. Likewise, an increase in intrapleural pressure to +2 mm Hg requires a 6 mm Hg increase in right atrial pressure from the normal −4 mm Hg, which shifts the entire cardiac output curve 6 mm Hg to the right. Some of the factors that can alter the external pressure on the heart and thereby shift the cardiac output curve are the following: 1. Cyclical changes of intrapleural pressure during respiration, which are about ±2 mm Hg during normal breathing but can be as much as ±50 mm Hg during strenuous breathing. 2. Breathing against a negative pressure, which shifts the curve to a more negative right atrial pressure (to the left). 3. Positive pressure breathing, which shifts the curve to the right. 4. Opening the thoracic cage, which increases the intrapleural pressure to 0 mm Hg and shifts the cardiac output curve to the right 4 mm Hg. 5. Cardiac tamponade, which means accumulation of a large quantity of fluid in the pericardial cavity around the heart with resultant increase in external cardiac pressure and shifting of the curve to the right. Note in Figure 20-7 that cardiac tamponade shifts the upper parts of the curves farther to the right than the lower parts because the external “tamponade” pressure rises to higher values as the chambers of the heart fill to increased volumes during high cardiac output.

Chapter 20  Cardiac Output, Venous Return, and Their Regulation

Normal

10

Normal Venous Return Curve Hypoeffective + reduced intrapleural pressure

5

0

–4

0

+4

+8

+12

Right atrial pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 20-8  Combinations of two major patterns of cardiac output curves showing the effect of alterations in both extracardiac pressure and effectiveness of the heart as a pump. (Redrawn from Guyton AC, Jones CE, Coleman TB: Circulatory Physiology: Cardiac Output and Its Regulation, 2nd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1973.)

Combinations of Different Patterns of Cardiac Output Curves.  Figure 20-8 shows that the final car-

diac output curve can change as a result of simultaneous changes in (a) external cardiac pressure and (b) effectiveness of the heart as a pump. For example, the combination of a hypereffective heart and increased intrapleural pressure would lead to increased maximum level of cardiac output due to the increased pumping capability of the heart but the cardiac output curve would be shifted to the right (to higher atrial pressures) due to the increased intrapleural pressure. Thus, by knowing what is happening to the external pressure, as well as to the capability of the heart as a pump, one can express the momentary ability of the heart to pump blood by a single cardiac output curve.

Venous Return Curves There remains the entire systemic circulation that must be considered before total analysis of cardiac regulation can be achieved. To analyze the function of the systemic circulation, we first remove the heart and lungs from the circulation of an animal and replace them with a pump and artificial oxygenator system. Then, different factors, such as blood volume, vascular resistances, and central venous pressure in the right atrium, are altered to determine how the systemic circulation operates in different circulatory states. In these studies, one finds three principal factors that affect venous return to the heart from the systemic circulation. They are as follows: 1. Right atrial pressure, which exerts a backward force on the veins to impede flow of blood from the veins into the right atrium. 2. Degree of filling of the systemic circulation (measured by the mean systemic filling pressure), which forces the systemic blood toward the heart (this is the pressure measured everywhere in the systemic circulation when all flow of blood is stopped and is discussed in detail later).

In the same way that the cardiac output curve relates pumping of blood by the heart to right atrial pressure, the venous return curve relates venous return also to right atrial pressure—that is, the venous flow of blood into the heart from the systemic circulation at different levels of right atrial pressure. The curve in Figure 20-9 is the normal venous return curve. This curve shows that when heart pumping capability becomes diminished and causes the right atrial pressure to rise, the backward force of the rising atrial pressure on the veins of the systemic circulation decreases venous return of blood to the heart. If all nervous circulatory reflexes are prevented from acting, venous return decreases to zero when the right atrial pressure rises to about +7 mm Hg. Such a slight rise in right atrial pressure causes a drastic decrease in venous return because the systemic circulation is a distensible bag, so any increase in back pressure causes blood to dam up in this bag instead of returning to the heart. At the same time that the right atrial pressure is rising and causing venous stasis, pumping by the heart also approaches zero because of decreasing venous return. Both the arterial and the venous pressures come to equilibrium when all flow in the systemic circulation ceases at a pressure of 7 mm Hg, which, by definition, is the mean systemic filling pressure (Psf ). Plateau in the Venous Return Curve at Negative Atrial Pressures Caused by Collapse of the Large Veins.  When the right atrial pressure falls below zero—that is, below atmospheric pressure—further increase in venous return almost ceases. And by the time the right atrial pressure has fallen to about −2 mm Hg, the venous return will have reached a plateau. It remains at this plateau level even though the right atrial pressure falls to −20 mm Hg, −50 mm Hg, or even further. This plateau is caused by collapse of the veins entering the chest. Negative pressure

Venous return (L/min)

Cardiac output (L/min)

15

Plateau 5

0

Transitional zone Do

wn

–8

slo

pe

–4 0 +4 Right atrial pressure (mm Hg)

Mean systemic filling pressure

+8

Figure 20-9  Normal venous return curve. The plateau is caused by collapse of the large veins entering the chest when the right atrial pressure falls below atmospheric pressure. Note also that venous return becomes zero when the right atrial pressure rises to equal the mean systemic filling pressure.

235

Unit IV

3. Resistance to blood flow between the peripheral vessels and the right atrium. These factors can all be expressed quantitatively by the venous return curve, as we explain in the next sections.

Hypereffective + increased intrapleural pressure

Unit IV  The Circulation

Mean Circulatory Filling Pressure and Mean Systemic Filling Pressure, and Their Effect on Venous Return

Mean circulatory filling pressure (mm Hg)

When heart pumping is stopped by shocking the heart with electricity to cause ventricular fibrillation or is ­stop­ped in any other way, flow of blood everywhere in the circulation ceases a few seconds later. Without blood flow, the pressures everywhere in the circulation become equal. This equilibrated pressure level is called the mean circulatory filling pressure. Effect of Blood Volume on Mean Circulatory Filling Pressure.  The greater the volume of blood in the circulation, the greater is the mean circulatory filling pressure because extra blood volume stretches the walls of the vasculature. The red curve in Figure 20-10 shows the approximate normal effect of different levels of blood volume on the mean circulatory filling pressure. Note that at a blood volume of about 4000 milliliters, the mean circulatory filling pressure is close to zero because this is the “unstressed volume” of the circulation, but at a volume of 5000 milliliters, the filling pressure is the normal value of 7 mm Hg. Similarly, at still higher volumes, the mean circulatory filling pressure increases almost linearly. Effect of Sympathetic Nervous Stimulation of the Circulation on Mean Circulatory Filling Pressure.  The green curve and blue curve in Figure 20-10 show the effects, respectively, of high and low levels of sympathetic nervous activity on the mean circulatory filling pressure. Strong sympathetic stimulation Normal circulatory system Complete sympathetic inhibition Normal volume

14 12 10 8 6 4 2

10 Psf = 3.5 Psf = 7

No

5

1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 Volume (ml)

Figure 20-10  Effect of changes in total blood volume on the mean circulatory filling pressure (i.e.,“volume-pressure curves” for the entire circulatory system). These curves also show the effects of strong sympathetic stimulation and complete sympathetic inhibition.

Psf = 14

rm

al

0 –4

0 0

236

Strong sympathetic stimulation constricts all the systemic blood vessels, as well as the larger pulmonary blood vessels and even the chambers of the heart. Therefore, the capacity of the system decreases so that at each level of blood volume, the mean circulatory filling pressure is increased. At normal blood volume, maximal sympathetic stimulation increases the mean circulatory filling pressure from 7 mm Hg to about 2.5 times that value, or about 17 mm Hg. Conversely, complete inhibition of the sympathetic nervous system relaxes both the blood vessels and the heart, decreasing the mean circulatory filling pressure from the normal value of 7 mm Hg down to about 4 mm Hg. Before leaving Figure 20-10, note specifically how steep the curves are. This means that even slight changes in blood volume or slight changes in the capacity of the system caused by various levels of sympathetic activity can have large effects on the mean circulatory filling pressure. Mean Systemic Filling Pressure and Its Relation to Mean Circulatory Filling Pressure.  The mean systemic filling pressure, Psf, is slightly different from the mean circulatory filling pressure. It is the pressure measured everywhere in the systemic circulation after blood flow has been stopped by clamping the large blood vessels at the heart, so the pressures in the systemic circulation can be measured independently from those in the pulmonary circulation. The mean systemic pressure, although almost impossible to measure in the living animal, is the important pressure for determining venous return. The mean systemic filling pressure, however, is almost always nearly equal to the mean circulatory filling pressure because the pulmonary circulation has less than one eighth as much capacitance as the systemic circulation and only about one tenth as much blood volume. Effect on the Venous Return Curve of Changes in Mean Systemic Filling Pressure.  Figure 20-11 shows the effects on the venous return curve caused by increasing or decreasing the mean systemic filling pressure (Psf ). Note in Figure 20-11 that the normal mean systemic filling pressure is 7 mm Hg. Then, for the uppermost curve Venous return (L/min)

in the right atrium sucks the walls of the veins together where they enter the chest, which prevents any additional flow of blood from the peripheral veins. Consequently, even very negative pressures in the right atrium cannot increase venous return significantly above that which exists at a normal atrial pressure of 0 mm Hg.

0

+4

+8

+12

Right atrial pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 20-11  Venous return curves showing the normal curve when the mean systemic filling pressure (Psf) is 7 mm Hg and the effect of altering the Psf to either 3.5 or 14 mm Hg. (Redrawn from Guyton AC, Jones CE, Coleman TB: Circulatory Physiology: Cardiac Output and Its Regulation, 2nd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1973.)

Chapter 20  Cardiac Output, Venous Return, and Their Regulation

Psf-PRA RVR

in which VR is venous return, Psf is mean systemic filling pressure, PRA is right atrial pressure, and RVR is resistance to venous return. In the healthy human adult, the values for these are as follows: venous return equals 5 L/ min, mean systemic filling pressure equals 7 mm Hg, right atrial pressure equals 0 mm Hg, and resistance to venous return equals 1.4 mm Hg per L/min of blood flow. Effect of Resistance to Venous Return on the Venous Return Curve.  Figure 20-12 demonstrates the effect of different levels of resistance to venous return on the venous return curve, showing that a decrease in this resistance to one-half normal allows twice as much flow of blood and, therefore, rotates the curve upward to twice as great a slope. Conversely, an increase in resistance to twice normal rotates the curve downward to one half as great a slope. Note also that when the right atrial pressure rises to equal the mean systemic filling pressure, venous return becomes zero at all levels of resistance to venous return because when there is no pressure gradient to cause flow of blood, it makes no difference what the resistance is in the circulation; the flow is still zero. Therefore, the highest level to which the right atrial pressure can rise, regardless of how much the heart might fail, is equal to the mean systemic filling pressure. Combinations of Venous Return Curve Patterns.  Figure 20-13 shows effects on the venous return curve caused by simultaneous changes in mean systemic pressure (Psf ) and resistance to venous return, demonstrating that both these factors can operate simultaneously. 20

15

1/

10

2

Norm al r es ista

5

2  resis

tance

e

nc ta

sis

re

In the same way that mean systemic filling pressure represents a pressure pushing venous blood from the periphery toward the heart, there is also resistance to this venous flow of blood. It is called the resistance to venous return. Most of the resistance to venous return occurs in the veins, although some occurs in the arterioles and small arteries as well. Why is venous resistance so important in determining the resistance to venous return? The answer is that when the resistance in the veins increases, blood begins to be dammed up, mainly in the veins themselves. But the venous pressure rises very little because the veins are highly distensible. Therefore, this rise in venous pressure is not very effective in overcoming the resistance, and blood flow into the right atrium decreases drastically. Conversely, when arteriolar and small artery resistances increase, blood accumulates in the arteries, which have a capacitance only one thirtieth as great as that of the veins. Therefore, even slight accumulation of blood in the arteries raises the pressure greatly—30 times as much as in the veins—and this high pressure does overcome much of the increased resistance. Mathematically, it turns out that about two thirds of the so-called “resistance to venous return” is determined by venous resistance, and about one third by the arteriolar and small artery resistance.

VR =

Venous return (L/min)

Resistance to Venous Return

Venous return can be calculated by the following formula:

nc e

Psf = 7

0 –4

0 +4 +8 Right atrial pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 20-12  Venous return curves depicting the effect of altering the “resistance to venous return.” Psf, mean systemic filling pressure. (Redrawn from Guyton AC, Jones CE, Coleman TB: Circulatory Physiology: Cardiac Output and Its Regulation, 2nd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1973.)

237

Unit IV

in the figure, the mean systemic filling pressure has been increased to 14 mm Hg, and for the lowermost curve, has been decreased to 3.5 mm Hg. These curves demonstrate that the greater the mean systemic filling pressure (which also means the greater the “tightness” with which the circulatory system is filled with blood), the more the venous return curve shifts upward and to the right. Conversely, the lower the mean systemic filling pressure, the more the curve shifts downward and to the left. To express this another way, the greater the system is filled, the easier it is for blood to flow into the heart. The less the filling, the more difficult it is for blood to flow into the heart. “Pressure Gradient for Venous Return”—When This Is Zero, There Is No Venous Return.  When the right atrial pressure rises to equal the mean systemic filling pressure, there is no longer any pressure difference between the peripheral vessels and the right atrium. Consequently, there can no longer be any blood flow from any peripheral vessels back to the right atrium. However, when the right atrial pressure falls progressively lower than the mean systemic filling pressure, the flow to the heart increases proportionately, as one can see by studying any of the venous return curves in Figure 20-11. That is, the greater the difference between the mean systemic filling pressure and the right atrial pressure, the greater becomes the venous return. Therefore, the difference between these two pressures is called the pressure gradient for venous return.

Normal resistance

Venous return (L/min)

15

2  resistance 1/2 resistance 1/3 resistance

10

5

Psf = 10.5

Psf = 10 Psf = 2.3 0

–4

0

Psf = 7 +4

+8

+12

Right atrial pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 20-13  Combinations of the major patterns of venous return curves, showing the effects of simultaneous changes in mean systemic filling pressure (Psf) and in “resistance to venous return.” (Redrawn from Guyton AC, Jones CE, Coleman TB: Circulatory Physiology: Cardiac Output and Its Regulation, 2nd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1973.)

Analysis of Cardiac Output and Right Atrial Pressure Using Simultaneous Cardiac Output and Venous Return Curves In the complete circulation, the heart and the systemic circulation must operate together. This means that (1) the venous return from the systemic circulation must equal the cardiac output from the heart and (2) the right atrial pressure is the same for both the heart and the systemic circulation. Therefore, one can predict the cardiac output and right atrial pressure in the following way: (1) Determine the momentary pumping ability of the heart and depict this in the form of a cardiac output curve; (2) determine the momentary state of flow from the systemic circulation into the heart and depict this in the form of a venous return curve; and (3) “equate” these curves against each other, as shown in Figure 20-14. Two curves in the figure depict the normal cardiac output curve (red line) and the normal venous return curve (blue line). There is only one point on the graph, point A, at which the venous return equals the cardiac output and at which the right atrial pressure is the same for both the heart and the systemic circulation. Therefore, in the normal circulation, the right atrial pressure, cardiac output, and venous return are all depicted by point A, called the equilibrium point, giving a normal value for cardiac output of 5 L/min and a right atrial pressure of 0 mm Hg.

Effect of Increased Blood Volume on Cardiac Output.  A sudden increase in blood volume of about

20 percent increases the cardiac output to about 2.5 to 3 times normal. An analysis of this effect is shown in Figure 20-14. Immediately on infusing the large quantity of extra blood, the increased filling of the system causes the mean systemic filling pressure (Psf ) to increase to 16 mm Hg, which shifts the venous return curve to the right. At the 238

Cardiac output and venous return (L/min)

Unit IV  The Circulation

20

15

B

10 A

5

Psf = 7

Psf = 16

0 −4

0

+4

+8

+12

+16

Right atrial pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 20-14  The two solid curves demonstrate an analysis of cardiac output and right atrial pressure when the cardiac output (red line) and venous return (blue line) curves are normal. Transfusion of blood equal to 20 percent of the blood volume causes the venous return curve to become the dashed curve; as a result, the cardiac output and right atrial pressure shift from point A to point B. Psf, mean systemic filling pressure.

same time, the increased blood volume distends the blood vessels, thus reducing their resistance and thereby reducing the resistance to venous return, which rotates the curve upward. As a result of these two effects, the venous return curve of Figure 20-14 is shifted to the right. This new curve equates with the cardiac output curve at point B, showing that the cardiac output and venous return increase 2.5 to 3 times, and that the right atrial pressure rises to about +8 mm Hg.

Further Compensatory Effects Initiated in Response to Increased Blood Volume.  The greatly increased car-

diac output caused by increased blood volume lasts for only a few minutes because several compensatory effects immediately begin to occur: (1) The increased cardiac output increases the capillary pressure so that fluid begins to transude out of the capillaries into the tissues, thereby returning the blood volume toward normal. (2) The increased pressure in the veins causes the veins to continue distending gradually by the mechanism called stress-relaxation, especially causing the venous blood reservoirs, such as the liver and spleen, to distend, thus reducing the mean systemic pressure. (3) The excess blood flow through the peripheral tissues causes autoregulatory increase in the peripheral vascular resistance, thus increasing the resistance to venous return. These factors cause the mean systemic filling pressure to return back toward normal and the resistance vessels of the systemic circulation to constrict. Therefore, gradually, over a period of 10 to 40 minutes, the cardiac output returns almost to normal.

Effect of Sympathetic Stimulation on Cardiac Output.  Sympathetic stimulation affects both the heart

and the systemic circulation: (1) It makes the heart a stronger pump. (2) In the systemic circulation, it increases

Maximal sympathetic stimulation

20

Moderate sympathetic stimulation

15

Normal Spinal anesthesia

D

10

C A

5 B 0 −4

0

+4

+8

+12

+16

Right atrial pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 20-15  Analysis of the effect on cardiac output of (1) moderate sympathetic stimulation (from point A to point C), (2) maximal sympathetic stimulation (point D), and (3) sympathetic inhibition caused by total spinal anesthesia (point B). (Redrawn from Guyton AC, Jones CE, Coleman TB: Circulatory Physiology: Cardiac Output and Its Regulation, 2nd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1973.)

the mean systemic filling pressure because of contraction of the peripheral vessels, especially the veins, and it increases the resistance to venous return. In Figure 20-15, the normal cardiac output and venous return curves are depicted; these equate with each other at point A, which represents a normal venous return and cardiac output of 5 L/min and a right atrial pressure of 0 mm Hg. Note in the figure that maximal sympathetic stimulation (green curves) increases the mean systemic filling pressure to 17 mm Hg (depicted by the point at which the venous return curve reaches the zero venous return level). And the sympathetic stimulation also increases pumping effectiveness of the heart by nearly 100 percent. As a result, the cardiac output rises from the normal value at equilibrium point A to about double normal at equilibrium point D—and yet the right atrial pressure hardly changes. Thus, different degrees of sympathetic stimulation can increase the cardiac output progressively to about twice normal for short periods of time, until other compensatory effects occur within seconds or minutes.

Effect of Sympathetic Inhibition on Cardiac Output.  The sympathetic nervous system can be

blocked by inducing total spinal anesthesia or by using some drug, such as hexamethonium, that blocks transmission of nerve signals through the autonomic ganglia. The lowermost curves in Figure 20-15 show the effect of sympathetic inhibition caused by total spinal anesthesia, demonstrating that (1) the mean systemic filling pressure falls to about 4 mm Hg and (2) the effectiveness of the heart as a pump decreases to about 80 percent of normal. The cardiac output falls from point A to point B, which is a decrease to about 60 percent of normal.

D

20 Cardiac output and venous return (L/min)

25

C 15

Unit IV

Cardiac output and venous return (L/min)

Chapter 20  Cardiac Output, Venous Return, and Their Regulation

B

10

A

5

0 −4

0

+4

+8

+12

Right atrial pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 20-16  Analysis of successive changes in cardiac output and right atrial pressure in a human being after a large arteriovenous (AV) fistula is suddenly opened. The stages of the analysis, as shown by the equilibrium points, are A, normal conditions; B, immediately after opening the AV fistula; C, 1 minute or so after the sympathetic reflexes have become active; and D, several weeks after the blood volume has increased and the heart has begun to hypertrophy. (Redrawn from Guyton AC, Jones CE, Coleman TB: Circulatory Physiology: Cardiac Output and Its Regulation, 2nd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1973.)

Effect of Opening a Large Arteriovenous Fistula.  Figure 20-16 shows various stages of circulatory changes that occur after opening a large arteriovenous fistula, that is, after making an opening directly between a large artery and a large vein. 1. The two red curves crossing at point A show the normal condition. 2. The curves crossing at point B show the circulatory condition immediately after opening the large fistula. The principal effects are (1) a sudden and precipitous rotation of the venous return curve upward caused by the large decrease in resistance to venous return when blood is allowed to flow with almost no impediment directly from the large arteries into the venous system, bypassing most of the resistance elements of the peripheral circulation, and (2) a slight increase in the level of the cardiac output curve because opening the fistula decreases the peripheral resistance and allows an acute fall in arterial pressure against which the heart can pump more easily. The net result, depicted by point B, is an increase in cardiac output from 5 L/ min up to 13 L/min and an increase in right atrial pressure to about +3 mm Hg. 3. Point C represents the effects about 1 minute later, after the sympathetic nerve reflexes have restored the arterial pressure almost to normal and caused two other effects: (1) an increase in the mean systemic filling pressure (because of constriction of all veins and arteries) from 7 to 9 mm Hg, thus shifting the venous return 239

curve 2 mm Hg to the right, and (2) further elevation of the cardiac output curve because of sympathetic nervous excitation of the heart. The cardiac output now rises to almost 16 L/min, and the right atrial pressure to about 4 mm Hg. 4. Point D shows the effect after several more weeks. By this time, the blood volume has increased because the slight reduction in arterial pressure and the sympathetic stimulation have both reduced kidney output of urine. The mean systemic filling pressure has now risen to +12 mm Hg, shifting the venous return curve another 3 mm Hg to the right. Also, the prolonged increased workload on the heart has caused the heart muscle to hypertrophy slightly, raising the level of the cardiac output curve still further. Therefore, point D shows a cardiac output now of almost 20 L/min and a right atrial pressure of about 6 mm Hg.

Other Analyses of Cardiac Output Regulation.  In Chapter 21, analysis of cardiac output regulation during exercise is presented, and in Chapter 22, analyses of cardiac output regulation at various stages of congestive heart failure are shown.

Methods for Measuring Cardiac Output In animal experiments, one can cannulate the aorta, pulmonary artery, or great veins entering the heart and measure the cardiac output using any type of flowmeter. An electromagnetic or ultrasonic flowmeter can also be placed on the aorta or pulmonary artery to measure cardiac output. In the human, except in rare instances, cardiac output is measured by indirect methods that do not require surgery. Two of the methods that have been used for experimental studies are the oxygen Fick method and the indicator dilution method. Cardiac output can also be estimated by echocardiography, a method that uses ultrasound waves from a transducer placed on the chest wall or passed into the patient’s esophagus to measure the size of the heart’s chambers, as well as the velocity of blood flowing from the left ventricle into the aorta. Stroke volume is calculated from the velocity of blood flowing into the aorta and the aorta cross-sectional area determined from the aorta diameter that is measured by ultrasound imaging. Cardiac output is then calculated from the product of the stroke volume and the heart rate.

Flow (L/min)

Unit IV  The Circulation 20 15 10 5 0

0

240

2

Figure 20-17  Pulsatile blood flow in the root of the aorta recorded using an electromagnetic flowmeter.

Measurement of Cardiac Output Using the Oxygen Fick Principle The Fick principle is explained by Figure 20-18. This figure shows that 200 milliliters of oxygen are being absorbed from the lungs into the pulmonary blood each minute. It also shows that the blood entering the right heart has an oxygen concentration of 160 milliliters per liter of blood, whereas that leaving the left heart has an oxygen concentration of 200 milliliters per liter of blood. From these data, one can calculate that each liter of blood passing through the lungs absorbs 40 milliliters of oxygen. Because the total quantity of oxygen absorbed into the blood from the lungs each minute is 200 milliliters, dividing 200 by 40 calculates a total of five 1-liter portions of blood that must pass through the pulmonary circulation each minute to absorb this amount of oxygen. Therefore, the quantity of blood flowing through the lungs each minute is 5 liters, which is also a measure of the cardiac output. Thus, the cardiac output can be calculated by the following formula: Cardiac output (L/min) =

O2 absorbed per minute by the lungs (ml/min) Arteriovenous O2 difference (ml/L of blood)

In applying this Fick procedure for measuring cardiac output in the human being, mixed venous blood is usually obtained through a catheter inserted up the brachial vein of the forearm, through the subclavian vein, down to the right atrium, and, finally, into the right ventricle or

LUNGS

Pulsatile Output of the Heart as Measured by an Electromagnetic or Ultrasonic Flowmeter Figure 20-17 shows a recording in a dog of blood flow in the root of the aorta made using an electromagnetic flowmeter. It demonstrates that the blood flow rises rapidly to a peak during systole, and then at the end of systole reverses for a fraction of a second. This reverse flow causes the aortic valve to close and the flow to return to zero.

1 Seconds

Oxygen used = 200 ml/min

O2 = 160 ml/L right heart

Cardiac output = 5000 ml/min

O2 = 200 ml/L left heart

Figure 20-18  Fick principle for determining cardiac output.

Chapter 20  Cardiac Output, Venous Return, and Their Regulation

Indicator Dilution Method for Measuring Cardiac Output To measure cardiac output by the so-called “indicator dilution method,” a small amount of indicator, such as a dye, is injected into a large systemic vein or, preferably, into the right atrium. This passes rapidly through the right side of the heart, then through the blood vessels of the lungs, through the left side of the heart, and, finally, into the systemic arterial system. The concentration of the dye is recorded as the dye passes through one of the peripheral arteries, giving a curve as shown in Figure 20-19. In each of these instances, 5 milligrams of CardioGreen dye was injected at zero time. In the top recording, none of the dye passed into the arterial tree until about 3 seconds after the injection, but then the arterial concentration of the dye rose rapidly to a maximum in about 6 to 7 seconds. After that, the concentration fell rapidly, but before the concentration reached zero, some of the dye had already circulated all the way through some of the peripheral systemic vessels and returned through the heart for a second time. Consequently, the dye concentration in the artery began to rise again. For the purpose of calculation, it is necessary to extrapolate the early down-slope of the curve to the zero point, as shown by the dashed portion of each curve. In this way, the extrapolated time-concentration curve of the dye in the systemic artery without recirculation can be measured in its first portion and estimated reasonably accurately in its latter portion.

Dye concentration in artery (mg/100 ml)

5 mg injected 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0 0

10

20

30

20

30

5 mg injected

0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0 0

10 Seconds

Figure 20-19  Extrapolated dye concentration curves used to calculate two separate cardiac outputs by the dilution method. (The rectangular areas are the calculated average concentrations of dye in the arterial blood for the durations of the respective extrapolated curves.)

Once the extrapolated time-concentration curve has been determined, one then calculates the mean ­concentration of dye in the arterial blood for the dura­ tion of the curve. For instance, in the top example of Figure 20-19, this was done by measuring the area under the  entire initial and extrapolated curve and then aver­ aging the concentration of dye for the duration of the curve; one can see from the shaded rectangle ­straddling the curve in the upper figure that the average ­concentra­tion of dye was 0.25 mg/dl of blood and that the dura­t­ion of this average value was 12 seconds. A total of 5 milli­grams of dye had been injected at the beginning of the experiment. For blood carrying only 0.25 milligram of dye in each 100 milliliters to carry the entire 5 milligrams of dye through the heart and lungs in 12 seconds, a total of 20 portions each with 100 milliliters of blood would have passed through the heart during the 12 seconds, which would be the same as a cardiac output of 2 L/12 sec, or 10 L/min. We leave it to the reader to calculate the cardiac output from the bottom extrapolated curve of Figure 20-19. To summarize, the cardiac output can be determined using the following formula: Cardiac output (ml/min) = Milligrams of dye injected  60 Average concentration of dye Duration of in each milliliter of blood  the curve for the duration of the curve in seconds

Bibliography Gaasch WH, Zile MR: Left ventricular diastolic dysfunction and diastolic heart failure, Annu Rev Med 55:373, 2004. Guyton AC: Venous return. In Hamilton WF, editor: Handbook of Physiology, Sec 2, vol 2, Baltimore, 1963, Williams & Wilkins, p 1099. Guyton AC: Determination of cardiac output by equating venous return curves with cardiac response curves, Physiol Rev 35:123, 1955. Guyton AC, Jones CE, Coleman TG: Circulatory physiology: cardiac output and its regulation, Philadelphia, 1973, WB Saunders. Guyton AC, Lindsey AW, Kaufmann BN: Effect of mean circulatory filling pressure and other peripheral circulatory factors on cardiac output, Am J Physiol 180:463–468, 1955. Hall JE: Integration and regulation of cardiovascular function, Am J Physiol 277:S174, 1999. Hall JE: The pioneering use of systems analysis to study cardiac output regulation, Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 287:R1009, 2004. Klein I, Danzi S: Thyroid disease and the heart, Circulation 116:1725, 2007. Koch WJ, Lefkowitz RJ, Rockman HA: Functional consequences of altering myocardial adrenergic receptor signaling, Annu Rev Physiol 62:237, 2000. Mathews L, Singh RK: Cardiac output monitoring, Ann Card Anaesth 11:56, 2008. Rothe CF: Mean circulatory filling pressure: its meaning and measurement, J Appl Physiol 74:499, 1993. Rothe CF: Reflex control of veins and vascular capacitance, Physiol Rev 63:1281, 1983. Sarnoff SJ, Berglund E: Ventricular function. 1. Starling’s law of the heart, studied by means of simultaneous right and left ventricular function curves in the dog, Circulation 9:706–718, 1953. Uemura K, Sugimachi M, Kawada T, et al: A novel framework of circulatory equilibrium, Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 286:H2376, 2004. Vatner SF, Braunwald E: Cardiovascular control mechanisms in the conscious state, N Engl J Med 293:970, 1975.

241

Unit IV

­ ulmonary artery. And systemic arterial blood can then be p obtained from any systemic artery in the body. The rate of oxygen absorption by the lungs is measured by the rate of disappearance of oxygen from the respired air, using any type of oxygen meter.

This page intentionally left blank

chapter 21

In this chapter we consider (1) blood flow to the skeletal muscles and (2) coronary artery blood flow to the heart. Regulation of each of these is achieved mainly by local control of vascular resistance in response to muscle tissue metabolic needs. We also discuss the physiology of related subjects such as (1) cardiac output control during exercise, (2) characteristics of heart attacks, and (3) the pain of angina pectoris.

Blood Flow Regulation in Skeletal Muscle at Rest and During Exercise Very strenuous exercise is one of the most stressful conditions that the normal circulatory system faces. This is true because there is such a large mass of skeletal muscle in the body, all of it requiring large amounts of blood flow. Also, the cardiac output often must increase in the nonathlete to four to five times normal, or in the well-trained athlete to six to seven times normal, to satisfy the metabolic needs of the exercising muscles.

Rate of Blood Flow Through the Muscles During rest, blood flow through skeletal muscle averages 3 to 4 ml/min/100 g of muscle. During extreme exercise in the well-conditioned athlete, this can increase 25- to 50-fold, rising to 100 to 200 ml/min/100 g of muscle. Peak blood flows as high as 400 ml/min/100 g of muscle have been reported in thigh muscles of endurance-trained athletes.

Blood Flow During Muscle Contractions.  Figure 21-1 shows a record of blood flow changes in a calf muscle of a human leg during strong rhythmical muscular exercise. Note that the flow increases and decreases with each muscle contraction. At the end of the contractions, the blood flow remains very high for a few seconds but then returns toward normal during the next few minutes. The cause of the lower flow during the muscle contraction phase of exercise is compression of the blood vessels

by the contracted muscle. During strong tetanic contraction, which causes sustained compression of the blood vessels, the blood flow can be almost stopped, but this also causes rapid weakening of the contraction.

Increased Blood Flow in Muscle Capillaries During Exercise.  During rest, some muscle capillaries have little

or no flowing blood. But during strenuous exercise, all the capillaries open. This opening of dormant capillaries diminishes the distance that oxygen and other nutrients must diffuse from the capillaries to the contracting muscle fibers and sometimes contributes a twofold to threefold increased capillary surface area through which oxygen and nutrients can diffuse from the blood to the tissues.

Control of Blood Flow in Skeletal Muscles Local Regulation—Decreased Oxygen in Muscle Greatly Enhances Flow.  The tremendous increase in

muscle blood flow that occurs during skeletal muscle activity is caused mainly by chemicals acting directly on the muscle arterioles to cause dilation. One of the most important chemical effects is reduction of oxygen in the muscle tissues. When muscles are active they use oxygen rapidly, thereby decreasing the oxygen concentration in the tissue fluids. This in turn causes local arteriolar vasodilation because the arteriolar walls cannot maintain contraction in the absence of oxygen and because oxygen deficiency causes release of vasodilator substances. Adenosine may be an important vasodilator substance, but experiments have shown that even large amounts of adenosine infused directly into a muscle artery cannot increase blood flow to the same extent as during intense exercise and cannot sustain vasodilation in skeletal ­muscle for more than about 2 hours. Fortunately, even after the muscle blood vessels have become insensitive to the vasodilator effects of adeno­ sine, still other vasodilator factors continue to maintain increased capillary blood flow as long as the exercise continues. These factors include (1) potassium ions, (2) ­adenosine triphosphate (ATP), (3) lactic acid, and (4)  carbon dioxide. We still do not know quantitatively how great a role each of these plays in increasing muscle 243

Unit IV

Muscle Blood Flow and Cardiac Output During Exercise; the Coronary Circulation and Ischemic Heart Disease

Blood flow ( x100 ml/min)

Unit IV  The Circulation

Effects of Mass Sympathetic Discharge

Rhythmic exercise

40

20

Calf flow

0 0

10

16

18

Minutes

Figure 21-1  Effects of muscle exercise on blood flow in the calf of a leg during strong rhythmical contraction. The blood flow was much less during contractions than between contractions. (Adapted from Barcroft H, Dornhorst AC: The blood flow through the human calf during rhythmic exercise. J Physiol 109:402, 1949.)

blood flow during muscle activity; this subject was discussed in a­ dditional detail in Chapter 17.

Nervous Control of Muscle Blood Flow.  In addition to local tissue vasodilator mechanisms, skeletal muscles are provided with sympathetic vasoconstrictor nerves and (in some species of animals) sympathetic vasodilator nerves as well. Sympathetic Vasoconstrictor Nerves.  The sympathetic vasoconstrictor nerve fibers secrete norepinephrine at their nerve endings. When maximally activated, this can decrease blood flow through resting muscles to as little as one-half to one-third normal. This vasoconstriction is of physiologic importance in circulatory shock and during other periods of stress when it is necessary to maintain a normal or even high arterial pressure. In addition to the norepinephrine secreted at the sympathetic vasoconstrictor nerve endings, the medullae of the two adrenal glands also secrete large amounts of norepinephrine plus even more epinephrine into the circulating blood during strenuous exercise. The circulating norepinephrine acts on the muscle vessels to cause a vasoconstrictor effect similar to that caused by direct sympathetic nerve stimulation. The epinephrine, however, often has a slight vasodilator effect because epinephrine excites more of the beta-adrenergic receptors of the vessels, which are vasodilator receptors, in contrast to the alpha vasoconstrictor receptors excited especially by norepinephrine. These receptors are discussed in Chapter 60. Total Body Circulatory Readjustments During Exercise Three major effects occur during exercise that are essential for the circulatory system to supply the tremendous blood flow required by the muscles. They are (1) mass discharge of the sympathetic nervous system throughout the body with consequent stimulatory effects on the entire circulation, (2) increase in arterial pressure, and (3) increase in cardiac output. 244

At the onset of exercise, signals are transmitted not only from the brain to the muscles to cause muscle contraction but also into the vasomotor center to initiate sympathetic discharge throughout the body. Simultaneously, the parasympathetic signals to the heart are attenuated. Therefore, three major circulatory effects result. First, the heart is stimulated to greatly increased heart rate and increased pumping strength as a result of the sympathetic drive to the heart plus release of the heart from normal parasympathetic inhibition. Second, most of the arterioles of the peripheral circulation are strongly contracted, except for the arterioles in the active muscles, which are strongly vasodilated by the local vasodilator effects in the muscles, as noted earlier. Thus, the heart is stimulated to supply the increased blood flow required by the muscles, while at the same time blood flow through most nonmuscular areas of the body is temporarily reduced, thereby “lending” blood supply to the muscles. This accounts for as much as 2 L/min of extra blood flow to the muscles, which is exceedingly important when one thinks of a person running for his life—even a fractional increase in running speed may make the difference between life and death. Two of the peripheral circulatory systems, the coronary and cerebral systems, are spared this vasoconstrictor effect because both these circulatory areas have poor vasoconstrictor innervation— fortunately so because both the heart and the brain are as essential to exercise as are the skeletal muscles. Third, the muscle walls of the veins and other capacitative areas of the circulation are contracted powerfully, which greatly increases the mean systemic filling pressure. As we learned in Chapter 20, this is one of the most important factors in promoting increase in venous return of blood to the heart and, therefore, in increasing the ­cardiac output.

Increase in Arterial Pressure During Exercise Due to Sympathetic Stimulation An important effect of increased sympathetic stimulation in exercise is to increase the arterial pressure. This results from multiple stimulatory effects, including (1) vasoconstriction of the arterioles and small arteries in most tissues of the body except the active muscles, (2) increased pumping activity by the heart, and (3) a great increase in mean systemic filling pressure caused mainly by venous contraction. These effects, working together, almost always increase the arterial pressure during exercise. This increase can be as little as 20 mm Hg or as great as 80 mm Hg, depending on the conditions under which the exercise is performed. When a person performs exercise under tense conditions but uses only a few muscles, the sympathetic nervous response still occurs everywhere in the body. In the few active muscles, vasodilation occurs, but everywhere else in the body the effect is mainly vasoconstriction, often increasing the mean arterial pressure to as high as 170 mm Hg. Such a condition might occur

Chapter 21  Muscle Blood Flow and Cardiac Output During Exercise; the Coronary Circulation and Ischemic Heart Disease

Importance of the Increase in Cardiac Output During Exercise Many different physiologic effects occur at the same time during exercise to increase cardiac output approximately in proportion to the degree of exercise. In fact, the ability of the circulatory system to provide increased cardiac output for delivery of oxygen and other nutrients to the muscles during exercise is equally as important as the strength of the muscles themselves in setting the limit for continued muscle work. For instance, marathon runners who can increase their cardiac outputs the most are ­generally the same persons who have record-breaking running times. Graphical Analysis of the Changes in Cardiac Output During Heavy Exercise.  Figure 21-2 shows a graphical analysis of the large increase in cardiac output that occurs during heavy exercise. The cardiac output and venous return curves crossing at point A give the analysis for the normal circulation, and the curves crossing at point B analyze heavy exercise. Note that the great increase in cardiac output requires significant changes in both the cardiac output curve and the venous return curve, as follows. The increased level of the cardiac output curve is easy to understand. It results almost entirely from sympathetic stimulation of the heart that causes (1) increased heart rate, often up to rates as high as 170 to 190 beats/min, and (2) increased strength of contraction of the heart, often to as much as twice normal. Without this increased level

Cardiac output and venous return (L/min)

25 B

20 15 10 A

5 0

−4

0

+4

+8

+12

+16

+20

+24

Right atrial pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 21-2  Graphical analysis of change in cardiac output and right atrial pressure with onset of strenuous exercise. Black curves, normal circulation. Red curves, heavy exercise.

of cardiac function, the increase in cardiac output would be limited to the plateau level of the normal heart, which would be a maximum increase of cardiac output of only about 2.5-fold rather than the 4-fold that can commonly be achieved by the untrained runner and the 7-fold that can be achieved in some marathon runners. Now study the venous return curves. If no change occurred from the normal venous return curve, the cardiac output could hardly rise at all in exercise because the upper plateau level of the normal venous return curve is only 6 L/min. Yet two important changes do occur: 1. The mean systemic filling pressure rises tremendously at the onset of heavy exercise. This results partly from the sympathetic stimulation that contracts the veins and other capacitative parts of the circulation. In addition, tensing of the abdominal and other skeletal muscles of the body compresses many of the internal vessels, thus providing more compression of the entire capacitative vascular system, causing a still greater increase in mean systemic filling pressure. During maximal ­exercise, these two effects together can increase the mean systemic filling pressure from a normal level of 7 mm Hg to as high as 30 mm Hg. 2. The slope of the venous return curve rotates upward. This is caused by decreased resistance in virtually all the blood vessels in active muscle tissue, which also causes resistance to venous return to decrease, thus increasing the upward slope of the venous return curve. Therefore, the combination of increased mean systemic filling pressure and decreased resistance to venous return raises the entire level of the venous return curve. In response to the changes in both the venous return curve and the cardiac output curve, the new equilibrium point in Figure 21-2 for cardiac output and right atrial pressure is now point B, in contrast to the normal level at point A. Note especially that the right atrial pressure has hardly changed, having risen only 1.5 mm Hg. In fact, in a person with a strong heart, the right atrial pressure often falls below normal in very heavy exercise because of the greatly increased sympathetic stimulation of the heart during exercise. 245

Unit IV

in a person standing on a ladder and nailing with a hammer on the ceiling above. The tenseness of the situation is obvious. Conversely, when a person performs massive wholebody exercise, such as running or swimming, the increase in arterial pressure is often only 20 to 40 mm Hg. This lack of a large increase in pressure results from the extreme vasodilation that occurs simultaneously in large masses of active muscle. Why Is the Arterial Pressure Increase During Exercise Important?  When muscles are stimulated maximally in a laboratory experiment but without allowing the arterial pressure to rise, muscle blood flow seldom rises more than about eightfold. Yet, we know from studies of marathon runners that muscle blood flow can increase from as little as 1 L/min for the whole body during rest to more than 20 L/min during maximal activity. Therefore, it is clear that muscle blood flow can increase much more than occurs in the aforementioned simple laboratory experiment. What is the difference? Mainly, the arterial pressure rises during normal exercise. Let us assume, for instance, that the arterial pressure rises 30 percent, a common increase during heavy exercise. This 30 percent increase causes 30 percent more force to push blood through the muscle tissue vessels. But this is not the only important effect; the extra pressure also stretches the walls of the vessels, and this effect, along with the locally released vasodilators and higher blood pressure, may increase muscle total flow to more than 20 times normal.

Unit IV  The Circulation

Normal Coronary Blood Flow—About 5 Percent of Cardiac Output

About one third of all deaths in industrialized countries of the Western world result from coronary artery disease, and almost all elderly people have at least some impairment of the coronary artery circulation. For this reason, understanding normal and pathological physiology of the coronary circulation is one of the most important subjects in medicine.

Physiologic Anatomy of the Coronary Blood Supply Figure 21-3 shows the heart and its coronary blood supply. Note that the main coronary arteries lie on the surface of the heart and smaller arteries then penetrate from the surface into the cardiac muscle mass. It is almost entirely through these arteries that the heart receives its nutritive blood supply. Only the inner 1/10 millimeter of the endocardial surface can obtain significant nutrition directly from the blood inside the cardiac chambers, so this source of muscle nutrition is minuscule. The left coronary artery supplies mainly the anterior and left lateral portions of the left ventricle, whereas the right coronary artery supplies most of the right ventricle, as well as the posterior part of the left ventricle in 80 to 90 percent of people. Most of the coronary venous blood flow from the left ventricular muscle returns to the right atrium of the heart by way of the coronary sinus, which is about 75 percent of the total coronary blood flow. And most of the coronary venous blood from the right ventricular muscle returns through small anterior cardiac veins that flow directly into the right atrium, not by way of the coronary sinus. A very small amount of coronary venous blood also flows back into the heart through very minute thebesian veins, which empty directly into all chambers of the heart.

Aorta Pulmonary artery

Right coronary artery

Left coronary artery Left circumflex branch Left anterior descending branch

Figure 21-3  The coronary arteries.

246

The resting coronary blood flow in the resting human being averages 70 ml/min/100 g heart weight, or about 225 ml/min, which is about 4 to 5 percent of the total cardiac output. During strenuous exercise, the heart in the young adult increases its cardiac output fourfold to sevenfold, and it pumps this blood against a higher than normal arterial pressure. Consequently, the work output of the heart under severe conditions may increase sixfold to ninefold. At the same time, the coronary blood flow increases threefold to fourfold to supply the extra nutrients needed by the heart. This increase is not as much as the increase in workload, which means that the ratio of energy expenditure by the heart to coronary blood flow increases. Thus, the “efficiency” of cardiac utilization of energy increases to make up for the relative deficiency of coronary blood supply.

Phasic Changes in Coronary Blood Flow During Systole and Diastole—Effect of Cardiac Muscle Compression.  Figure 21-4 shows the changes in blood

flow through the nutrient capillaries of the left ventricular coronary system in ml/min in the human heart dur­ing systole and diastole, as extrapolated from studies in experimental animals. Note from this diagram that the coronary capillary blood flow in the left ventricle muscle falls to a low value during systole, which is opposite to flow in vascular beds elsewhere in the body. The reason for this is strong compression of the left ventricular muscle around the intramuscular vessels during systolic contraction. During diastole, the cardiac muscle relaxes and no longer obstructs blood flow through the left ventricular muscle capillaries, so blood flows rapidly during all of diastole. Blood flow through the coronary capillaries of the right ventricle also undergoes phasic changes during the cardiac cycle, but because the force of contraction of the right ventricular muscle is far less than that of the left ventricular muscle, the inverse phasic changes are only partial, in contrast to those in the left ventricular muscle.

Coronary blood flow (ml/min)

Coronary Circulation

300

200

100

0 Systole

Diastole

Figure 21-4  Phasic flow of blood through the coronary capillaries of the human left ventricle during cardiac systole and diastole (as extrapolated from measured flows in dogs).

Chapter 21  Muscle Blood Flow and Cardiac Output During Exercise; the Coronary Circulation and Ischemic Heart Disease

Epicardial Versus Subendocardial Coronary Blood Flow—Effect of Intramyocardial Pressure.  Figure

Control of Coronary Blood Flow Local Muscle Metabolism Is the Primary Controller of Coronary Flow Blood flow through the coronary system is regulated mostly by local arteriolar vasodilation in response to the nutritional needs of cardiac muscle. That is, whenever the vigor of cardiac contraction is increased, the rate of coronary blood flow also increases. Conversely, decreased heart activity is accompanied by decreased coronary flow. This local regulation of coronary blood flow is almost identical to that occurring in many other tissues of the body, especially in the skeletal muscles. Oxygen Demand as a Major Factor in Local Coronary Blood Flow Regulation.  Blood flow in the coronary arteries usually is regulated almost exactly in proportion to the need of the cardiac musculature for oxygen. Normally, about 70 percent of the oxygen in the coronary arterial blood is removed as the blood flows through the heart muscle. Because not much oxygen is left, very little additional oxygen can be supplied to the heart musculature unless the coronary blood flow increases. Fortunately, the coronary blood flow does increase almost in direct proportion to any additional metabolic consumption of oxygen by the heart. However, the exact means by which increased oxygen consumption causes coronary dilation has not been determined. It is speculated by many research workers that a decrease in the oxygen concentration in the heart Epicardial coronary arteries

Cardiac muscle Subendocardial arterial plexus

Figure 21-5  Diagram of the epicardial, intramuscular, and subendocardial coronary vasculature.

Nervous Control of Coronary Blood Flow Stimulation of the autonomic nerves to the heart can affect coronary blood flow both directly and indirectly. The direct effects result from action of the nervous transmitter substances acetylcholine from the vagus nerves and norepinephrine and epinephrine from the sympathetic nerves on the coronary vessels themselves. The indirect effects result from secondary changes in coronary blood flow caused by increased or decreased activity of the heart. The indirect effects, which are mostly opposite to the direct effects, play a far more important role in normal control of coronary blood flow. Thus, sympathetic stimulation, which releases norepinephrine and epinephrine, increases both heart rate and heart contractility and increases the rate of metabolism of the heart. In turn, the increased metabolism of the heart sets off local blood flow regulatory mechanisms for dilating the coronary vessels, and the blood flow increases approximately in proportion to the metabolic needs of the heart muscle. In contrast, vagal stimulation, with its release of acetylcholine, slows the heart and has a slight depressive effect on heart contractility. These effects in turn decrease cardiac oxygen consumption and, therefore, indirectly constrict the ­coronary arteries. Direct Effects of Nervous Stimuli on the Coronary Vasculature.  The distribution of parasympathetic (vagal) nerve fibers to the ventricular coronary system is not very great. However, the acetylcholine released by parasympathetic stimulation has a direct effect to dilate the coronary arteries. 247

Unit IV

21-5 demonstrates the special arrangement of the coronary vessels at different depths in the heart muscle, showing on the outer surface epicardial coronary arteries that supply most of the muscle. Smaller, intramuscular arteries derived from the epicardial arteries penetrate the muscle, supplying the needed nutrients. Lying immediately beneath the endocardium is a plexus of subendocardial arteries. During systole, blood flow through the subendocardial plexus of the left ventricle, where the intramuscular coronary vessels are compressed greatly by ventricular muscle contraction, tends to be reduced. But the extra vessels of the subendocardial plexus normally compensate for this. Later in the chapter, we explain how this peculiar difference between blood flow in the epicardial and subendocardial arteries plays an important role in certain types of coronary ischemia.

causes vasodilator substances to be released from the muscle cells and that these dilate the arterioles. A substance with great vasodilator propensity is adenosine. In the presence of very low concentrations of oxygen in the muscle cells, a large proportion of the cell’s ATP degrades to adenosine monophosphate; then small portions of this are further degraded and release adenosine into the tissue fluids of the heart muscle, with resultant increase in local coronary blood flow. After the adenosine causes vasodilation, much of it is reabsorbed into the cardiac cells to be reused. Adenosine is not the only vasodilator product that has been identified. Others include adenosine phosphate compounds, potassium ions, hydrogen ions, carbon dioxide, prostaglandins, and nitric oxide. Yet the mechanisms of coronary vasodilation during increased cardiac activity have not been fully explained by adenosine. Pharmacologic agents that block or partially block the vasodilator effect of adenosine do not prevent coronary vasodilation caused by increased heart muscle activity. Studies in skeletal muscle have also shown that continued infusion of adenosine maintains vascular dilation for only 1 to 3 hours, and yet muscle activity still dilates the local blood vessels even when the adenosine can no longer dilate them. Therefore, the other vasodilator mechanisms listed earlier should be remembered.

Unit IV  The Circulation

There is much more extensive sympathetic innervation of the coronary vessels. In Chapter 60, we see that the sympathetic transmitter substances norepinephrine and epinephrine can have either vascular constrictor or vascular dilator effects, depending on the presence or absence of constrictor or dilator receptors in the blood vessel walls. The constrictor receptors are called alpha receptors and the dilator receptors are called beta receptors. Both alpha and beta receptors exist in the coronary vessels. In general, the epicardial coronary vessels have a preponderance of alpha receptors, whereas the intramuscular arteries may have a preponderance of beta receptors. Therefore, sympathetic stimulation can, at least theoretically, cause slight overall coronary constriction or dilation, but usually constriction. In some people, the alpha vasoconstrictor effects seem to be disproportionately severe, and these people can have vasospastic myocardial ischemia during periods of excess sympathetic drive, often with resultant anginal pain. Metabolic factors, especially myocardial oxygen consumption, are the major controllers of myocardial blood flow. Whenever the direct effects of nervous stimulation alter the coronary blood flow in the wrong direction, the metabolic control of coronary flow usually overrides the direct coronary nervous effects within seconds.

Special Features of Cardiac Muscle Metabolism The basic principles of cellular metabolism, discussed in Chapters 67 through 72, apply to cardiac muscle the same as for other tissues, but there are some quantitative differences. Most important, under resting conditions, cardiac muscle normally consumes fatty acids to supply most of its energy instead of carbohydrates (about 70 percent of the energy is derived from fatty acids). However, as is also true of other tissues, under anaerobic or ischemic conditions, cardiac metabolism must call on anaerobic glycolysis mechanisms for energy. Unfortunately, glycolysis consumes tremendous quantities of the blood glucose and at the same time forms large amounts of lactic acid in the cardiac tissue, which is probably one of the causes of cardiac pain in cardiac ischemic conditions, as discussed later in this chapter. As is true in other tissues, more than 95 percent of the metabolic energy liberated from foods is used to form ATP in the mitochondria. This ATP in turn acts as the conveyer of energy for cardiac muscular contraction and other cellular functions. In severe coronary ischemia, the ATP degrades first to adenosine diphosphate, then to adenosine monophosphate and adenosine. Because the cardiac muscle cell membrane is slightly permeable to adenosine, much of this can diffuse from the muscle cells into the circulating blood. The released adenosine is believed to be one of the substances that causes dilation of the coronary arterioles during coronary hypoxia, as discussed earlier. However, loss of adenosine also has a serious cellular consequence. Within as little as 30 minutes of severe coronary is­chemia, as occurs after a myocardial infarct, about one half of the 248

adenine base can be lost from the affected cardiac muscle cells. Furthermore, this loss can be replaced by new synthesis of adenine at a rate of only 2 percent per hour. Therefore, once a serious bout of coronary ischemia has persisted for 30 or more minutes, relief of the ischemia may be too late to prevent injury and death of the cardiac cells. This almost certainly is one of the major causes of cardiac cellular death during myocardial ischemia.

Ischemic Heart Disease The most common cause of death in Western culture is ischemic heart disease, which results from insufficient coronary blood flow. About 35 percent of people in the United States die of this cause. Some deaths occur suddenly as a result of acute coronary occlusion or fibrillation of the heart, whereas other deaths occur slowly over a period of weeks to years as a result of progressive weakening of the heart pumping process. In this chapter, we discuss acute coronary ischemia caused by acute coronary occlusion and myocardial infarction. In Chapter 22, we discuss congestive heart failure, the most frequent cause of which is slowly increasing coronary ischemia and weakening of the cardiac muscle.

Atherosclerosis as a Cause of Ischemic Heart Disease.  The most frequent cause of diminished

coronary blood flow is atherosclerosis. The atherosclerotic process is discussed in connection with lipid metabolism in Chapter 68. Briefly, this process is the following. In people who have genetic predisposition to atherosclerosis, who are overweight or obese and have a sedentary lifestyle, or who have high blood pressure and damage to the endothelial cells of the coronary blood vessels, large quantities of cholesterol gradually become deposited beneath the endothelium at many points in arteries throughout the body. Gradually, these areas of deposit are invaded by fibrous tissue and frequently become calcified. The net result is the development of atherosclerotic plaques that actually protrude into the vessel lumens and either block or partially block blood flow. A common site for development of atherosclerotic plaques is the first few centimeters of the major coronary arteries.

Acute Coronary Occlusion Acute occlusion of a coronary artery most frequently occurs in a person who already has underlying atherosclerotic coronary heart disease but almost never in a person with a normal coronary circulation. Acute occlusion can result from any one of several effects, two of which are the following: 1. The atherosclerotic plaque can cause a local blood clot called a thrombus, which in turn occludes the artery. The thrombus usually occurs where the arteriosclerotic plaque has broken through the endothelium, thus coming in direct contact with the flowing blood. Because the plaque presents an unsmooth surface, blood platelets adhere to it, fibrin is deposited, and red

Chapter 21  Muscle Blood Flow and Cardiac Output During Exercise; the Coronary Circulation and Ischemic Heart Disease

Lifesaving Value of Collateral Circulation in the Heart.  The degree of damage to the heart muscle caused either by slowly developing atherosclerotic constriction of the coronary arteries or by sudden coronary occlusion is determined to a great extent by the degree of collateral circulation that has already developed or that can open within minutes after the occlusion. In a normal heart, almost no large communications exist among the larger coronary arteries. But many anastomoses do exist among the smaller arteries sized 20 to 250 micrometers in diameter, as shown in Figure 21-6. When a sudden occlusion occurs in one of the larger coronary arteries, the small anastomoses begin to dilate within seconds. But the blood flow through these minute collaterals is usually less than one-half that needed to keep alive most of the cardiac muscle that they now supply; the diameters of the collateral vessels do not enlarge much more for the next 8 to 24 hours. But then collateral flow does begin to increase, doubling by the second or third

Artery

Vein

Artery

Vein

Figure 21-6  Minute anastomoses in the normal coronary ­arterial system.

day and often reaching normal or almost normal coronary flow within about 1 month. Because of these developing collateral channels, many patients recover almost completely from various degrees of coronary occlusion when the area of muscle involved is not too great. When atherosclerosis constricts the coronary arteries slowly over a period of many years rather than suddenly, collateral vessels can develop at the same time while the atherosclerosis becomes more and more severe. Therefore, the person may never experience an acute episode of cardiac dysfunction. But, eventually, the sclerotic process develops beyond the limits of even the collateral blood supply to provide the needed blood flow, and sometimes the collateral blood vessels themselves develop atherosclerosis. When this occurs, the heart muscle becomes severely limited in its work output, often so much so that the heart cannot pump even normally required amounts of blood flow. This is one of the most common causes of the cardiac failure that occurs in vast numbers of older people.

Myocardial Infarction Immediately after an acute coronary occlusion, blood flow ceases in the coronary vessels beyond the occlusion except for small amounts of collateral flow from surrounding vessels. The area of muscle that has either zero flow or so little flow that it cannot sustain cardiac muscle function is said to be infarcted. The overall process is called a myocardial infarction. Soon after the onset of the infarction, small amounts of collateral blood begin to seep into the infarcted area, and this, combined with progressive dilation of local blood vessels, causes the area to become overfilled with stagnant blood. Simultaneously the muscle fibers use the last vestiges of the oxygen in the blood, causing the hemoglobin to become totally deoxygenated. Therefore, the infarcted area takes on a bluish-brown hue, and the blood vessels of the area appear to be engorged despite lack of blood flow. In later stages, the vessel walls become highly permeable and leak fluid; the local muscle tissue becomes edematous, and the cardiac muscle cells begin to swell because of diminished cellular metabolism. Within a few hours of almost no blood supply, the cardiac muscle cells die. Cardiac muscle requires about 1.3 ml of oxygen per 100 grams of muscle tissue per minute just to remain alive. This is in comparison with about 8 ml of oxygen per 100 grams delivered to the normal resting left ventricle each minute. Therefore, if there is even 15 to 30 percent of normal resting coronary blood flow, the muscle will not die. In the central portion of a large infarct, however, where there is almost no collateral blood flow, the muscle does die. Subendocardial Infarction.  The subendocardial muscle frequently becomes infarcted even when there is no evidence of infarction in the outer surface portions of the heart. The reason for this is that the subendocardial muscle has extra difficulty obtaining adequate blood flow because the blood vessels in the subendocardium 249

Unit IV

blood cells become entrapped to form a blood clot that grows until it occludes the vessel. Or, occasionally, the clot breaks away from its attachment on the atherosclerotic plaque and flows to a more peripheral branch of the coronary arterial tree, where it blocks the artery at that point. A thrombus that flows along the artery in this way and occludes the vessel more distally is called a coronary embolus. 2. Many clinicians believe that local muscular spasm of a coronary artery also can occur. The spasm might result from direct irritation of the smooth muscle of the arterial wall by the edges of an arteriosclerotic plaque, or it might result from local nervous reflexes that cause excess coronary vascular wall contraction. The spasm may then lead to secondary thrombosis of the vessel.

Unit IV  The Circulation

are intensely compressed by systolic contraction of the heart, as explained earlier. Therefore, any condition that compromises blood flow to any area of the heart usually causes damage first in the subendocardial regions, and the ­damage then spreads outward toward the epicardium.

low cardiac output failure. It is discussed more fully in the next chapter. Cardiac shock almost always occurs when more than 40 percent of the left ventricle is infarcted. And death occurs in over 70 percent of patients once they develop cardiac shock.

Causes of Death After Acute Coronary Occlusion

Damming of Blood in the Body’s Venous System.  When the heart is not pumping blood forward,

The most common causes of death after acute myocardial infarction are (1) decreased cardiac output; (2) damming of blood in the pulmonary blood vessels and then death resulting from pulmonary edema; (3) fibrillation of the heart; and, occasionally, (4) rupture of the heart.

Decreased Cardiac Output—Systolic Stretch and Cardiac Shock.  When some of the cardiac muscle fibers

are not functioning and others are too weak to contract with great force, the overall pumping ability of the affected ventricle is proportionately depressed. Indeed, the overall pumping strength of the infarcted heart is often decreased more than one might expect because of a phenomenon called systolic stretch, shown in Figure 21-7. That is, when the normal portions of the ventricular muscle contract, the ischemic portion of the muscle, whether it is dead or simply nonfunctional, instead of contracting is forced outward by the pressure that develops inside the ventricle. Therefore, much of the pumping force of the ventricle is dissipated by bulging of the area of nonfunctional cardiac muscle. When the heart becomes incapable of contracting with sufficient force to pump enough blood into the peripheral arterial tree, cardiac failure and death of peripheral tissues ensue as a result of peripheral ischemia. This condition is called coronary shock, cardiogenic shock, cardiac shock, or

Normal contraction

Nonfunctional muscle

Systolic stretch

Figure 21-7  Systolic stretch in an area of ischemic cardiac muscle.

250

it must be damming blood in the atria and in the blood vessels of the lungs or in the systemic circulation. This leads to increased capillary pressures, particularly in the lungs. This damming of blood in the veins often causes little difficulty during the first few hours after myocardial infarction. Instead, symptoms develop a few days later for the following reason: The acutely diminished cardiac output leads to diminished blood flow to the kidneys. Then, for reasons that are discussed in Chapter 22, the kidneys fail to excrete enough urine. This adds progressively to the total blood volume and, therefore, leads to congestive symptoms. Consequently, many patients who seemingly are getting along well during the first few days after onset of heart failure will suddenly develop acute pulmonary edema and often will die within a few hours after appearance of the initial pulmonary symptoms.

Fibrillation of the Ventricles After Myocardial Infarction.  Many people who die of coronary occlu-

sion die because of sudden ventricular fibrillation. The tendency to develop fibrillation is especially great after a large infarction, but fibrillation can sometimes occur after small occlusions as well. Indeed, some patients with chronic coronary insufficiency die suddenly from fibrillation without any acute infarction. There are two especially dangerous periods after coronary infarction during which fibrillation is most likely to occur. The first is during the first 10 minutes after the infarction occurs. Then there is a short period of relative safety, followed by a second period of cardiac irritability beginning 1 hour or so later and lasting for another few hours. Fibrillation can also occur many days after the infarct but less likely so. At least four factors enter into the tendency for the heart to fibrillate: 1. Acute loss of blood supply to the cardiac muscle causes rapid depletion of potassium from the ­ischemic ­musculature. This also increases the potassium ­concentration in the extracellular fluids surround­ ing the cardiac muscle fibers. Experiments in which potassium has been injected into the coronary ­system have demonstrated that an elevated extracellular potassium concentration increases the irritability of the cardiac musculature and, therefore, its likelihood of fibrillating. 2. Ischemia of the muscle causes an “injury current,” which is described in Chapter 12 in relation to electrocardiograms in patients with acute myocardial infarction.

Chapter 21  Muscle Blood Flow and Cardiac Output During Exercise; the Coronary Circulation and Ischemic Heart Disease

Rupture of the Infarcted Area.  During the first day or so after an acute infarct, there is little danger of rupture of the ischemic portion of the heart, but a few days later, the dead muscle fibers begin to degenerate, and the heart wall becomes stretched very thin. When this happens, the dead muscle bulges outward severely with each heart contraction, and this systolic stretch becomes greater and greater until finally the heart ruptures. In fact, one of the means used in assessing progress of severe myocardial infarction is to record by cardiac imaging (i.e., x-rays) whether the degree of ­systolic stretch is worsening. When a ventricle does rupture, loss of blood into the pericardial space causes rapid development of cardiac tamponade—that is, compression of the heart from the outside by blood collecting in the pericardial cavity. Because of this compression of the heart, blood cannot flow into the right atrium, and the patient dies of suddenly decreased cardiac output. Stages of Recovery from Acute Myocardial Infarction The upper left part of Figure 21-8 shows the effects of acute coronary occlusion in a patient with a small area of muscle ischemia; to the right is shown a heart with a large area of ischemia. When the area of ischemia is small, little or no death of the muscle cells may occur, but part of the muscle often does become temporarily nonfunctional because of inadequate nutrition to support muscle contraction.

Mild ischemia Nonfunctional

Mild ischemia Nonfunctional

Dead fibers Nonfunctional

Dead fibers

Fibrous tissue

Figure 21-8  Top, Small and large areas of coronary ischemia. Bottom, Stages of recovery from myocardial infarction.

When the area of ischemia is large, some of the muscle fibers in the center of the area die rapidly, within 1 to 3 hours where there is total cessation of coronary blood supply. Immediately around the dead area is a nonfunctional area, with failure of contraction and usually failure of impulse conduction. Then, extending circumferentially around the nonfunctional area is an area that is still contracting but weakly so because of mild ischemia.

Replacement of Dead Muscle by Scar Tissue.  In the lower part of Figure 21-8, the various stages of recovery after a large myocardial infarction are shown. Shortly after the occlusion, the muscle fibers in the center of the ischemic area die. Then, during the ensuing days, this area of dead fibers becomes bigger because many of the marginal fibers finally succumb to the prolonged ischemia. At the same time, because of enlargement of collateral arterial channels supplying the outer rim of the infarcted area, much of the nonfunctional muscle recovers. After a few days to 3 weeks, most of the nonfunctional muscle becomes functional again or dies—one or the other. In the meantime, fibrous tissue begins developing among the dead fibers because ischemia can stimulate growth of fibroblasts and promote development of greater than normal quantities of fibrous tissue. Therefore, the dead muscle tissue is gradually replaced by fibrous tissue. Then, because it is a general property of fibrous tissue to undergo progressive contraction and dissolution, the fibrous scar may grow smaller over a period of several months to a year. Finally, the normal areas of the heart gradually hypertrophy to compensate at least partially for the lost dead cardiac musculature. By these means, the heart recovers either partially or almost completely within a few months. Value of Rest in Treating Myocardial Infarction.  The degree of cardiac cellular death is determined by the degree of ischemia and the workload on the heart ­muscle. 251

Unit IV

That is, the ischemic musculature often cannot completely repolarize its membranes after a heartbeat, so the external surface of this muscle remains negative with respect to normal cardiac muscle membrane potential elsewhere in the heart. Therefore, electric current flows from this ischemic area of the heart to the normal area and can elicit abnormal impulses that can cause fibrillation. 3. Powerful sympathetic reflexes often develop after massive infarction, principally because the heart does not pump an adequate volume of blood into the arterial tree, which leads to reduced blood pressure. The sympathetic stimulation also increases irritability of the cardiac muscle and thereby predisposes to fibrillation. 4. Cardiac muscle weakness caused by the myocardial infarction often causes the ventricle to dilate excessively. This increases the pathway length for impulse conduction in the heart and frequently causes abnormal conduction pathways all the way around the infarcted area of the cardiac muscle. Both of these effects predispose to development of circus movements because, as discussed in Chapter 13, excess prolongation of conduction pathways in the ventricles allows impulses to re-enter muscle that is already recovering from refractoriness, thereby initiating a “circus movement” cycle of new excitation and causing the process to continue on and on.

Unit IV  The Circulation

When the workload is greatly increased, such as during exercise, in severe emotional strain, or as a result of fatigue, the heart needs increased oxygen and other nutrients for sustaining its life. Furthermore, anastomotic blood vessels that supply blood to ischemic areas of the heart must also still supply the areas of the heart that they normally supply. When the heart becomes excessively active, the vessels of the normal musculature become greatly dilated. This allows most of the blood flowing into the coronary vessels to flow through the normal muscle tissue, thus leaving little blood to flow through the small anastomotic channels into the ischemic area so that the ischemic condition worsens. This condition is called the “coronary steal” syndrome. Consequently, one of the most important factors in the treatment of a patient with myocardial infarction is observance of absolute body rest during the recovery process.

Function of the Heart After Recovery from Myocardial Infarction Occasionally, a heart that has recovered from a large myocardial infarction returns almost to full functional capability, but more frequently its pumping capability is permanently decreased below that of a healthy heart. This does not mean that the person is necessarily a cardiac invalid or that the resting cardiac output is depressed below normal, because the normal heart is capable of pumping 300 to 400 percent more blood per minute than the body requires during rest—that is, a normal person has a “cardiac reserve” of 300 to 400 percent. Even when the cardiac reserve is reduced to as little as 100 percent, the person can still perform most normal daily activities but not strenuous exercise that would overload the heart.

Pain in Coronary Heart Disease Normally, a person cannot “feel” his or her heart, but ischemic cardiac muscle often does cause pain sensation, sometimes severe. Exactly what causes this pain is not known, but it is believed that ischemia causes the muscle to release acidic substances, such as lactic acid, or other pain-promoting products, such as histamine, kinins, or cellular proteolytic enzymes, that are not removed rapidly enough by the slowly moving coronary blood flow. The high concentrations of these abnormal products then stimulate pain nerve endings in the cardiac muscle, sending pain impulses through sensory afferent nerve fibers into the central nervous system.

Angina Pectoris In most people who develop progressive constriction of their coronary arteries, cardiac pain, called angina pectoris, begins to appear whenever the load on the heart becomes too great in relation to the available coronary blood flow. This pain is usually felt beneath the upper sternum over the heart, and in addition it is often referred to distant surface areas of the body, most commonly to the left arm 252

and left shoulder but also frequently to the neck and even to the side of the face. The reason for this distribution of pain is that the heart originates during embryonic life in the neck, as do the arms. Therefore, both the heart and these surface areas of the body receive pain nerve fibers from the same spinal cord segments. Most people who have chronic angina pectoris feel pain when they exercise or when they experience emotions that increase metabolism of the heart or temporarily constrict the coronary vessels because of sympathetic vasoconstrictor nerve signals. Anginal pain is also exacerbated by cold temperatures or by having a full stomach, both of which increase the workload of the heart. The pain usually lasts for only a few minutes. However, some patients have such severe and lasting ischemia that the pain is present all the time. The pain is frequently described as hot, pressing, and constricting; it is of such quality that it usually makes the patient stop all unnecessary body activity and come to a complete state of rest. Treatment with Drugs.  Several vasodilator drugs, when administered during an acute anginal attack, can often give immediate relief from the pain. Commonly used short-acting vasodilators are nitroglycerin and other nitrate drugs. Other vasodilators, such as angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, and ranolazine, may be beneficial in treating chronic stable angina pectoris. Another class of drugs used for prolonged treatment of angina pectoris is the beta blockers, such as propranolol. These drugs block sympathetic beta-adrenergic receptors, which prevents sympathetic enhancement of heart rate and cardiac metabolism during exercise or emotional episodes. Therefore, therapy with a beta blocker decreases the need of the heart for extra metabolic oxygen during stressful conditions. For obvious reasons, this can also reduce the number of anginal attacks, as well as their severity.

Surgical Treatment of Coronary Artery Disease Aortic-Coronary Bypass Surgery.  In many patients

with coronary ischemia, the constricted areas of the coronary arteries are located at only a few discrete points blocked by atherosclerotic disease and the coronary vessels elsewhere are normal or almost normal. A surgical procedure was developed in the 1960s, called aortic-coronary bypass, for removing a section of a subcutaneous vein from an arm or leg and then grafting this vein from the root of the aorta to the side of a peripheral coronary artery beyond the atherosclerotic blockage point. One to five such grafts are usually performed, each of which supplies a peripheral coronary artery beyond a block. Anginal pain is relieved in most patients. Also, in patients whose hearts have not become too severely damaged before the operation, the coronary bypass procedure may provide the patient with normal survival expectation. If the heart has already been severely damaged, however, the bypass procedure is likely to be of little value.

Chapter 21  Muscle Blood Flow and Cardiac Output During Exercise; the Coronary Circulation and Ischemic Heart Disease

Coronary Angioplasty.  Since the 1980s, a proce-

Bibliography Cohn PF, Fox KM, Daly C: Silent myocardial ischemia, Circulation 108:1263, 2003. Dalal H, Evans PH, Campbell JL: Recent developments in secondary prevention and cardiac rehabilitation after acute myocardial infarction, BMJ 328:693, 2004. Duncker DJ, Bache RJ: Regulation of coronary blood flow during exercise, Physiol Rev 88:1009, 2008. Freedman SB, Isner JM: Therapeutic angiogenesis for coronary artery ­disease, Ann Intern Med 136:54, 2002. Gehlbach BK, Geppert E: The pulmonary manifestations of left heart ­failure, Chest 125:669, 2004. González-Alonso J, Crandall CG, Johnson JM: The cardiovascular challenge of exercising in the heat, J Physiol 586:45, 2008. Guyton AC, Jones CE, Coleman TG: Circulatory pathology: Cardiac output and its regulation, Philadelphia, 1973, WB Saunders. Hester RL, Hammer LW: Venular-arteriolar communication in the regulation of blood flow, Am J Physiol 282:R1280, 2002. Joyner MJ, Wilkins BW: Exercise hyperaemia: is anything obligatory but the hyperaemia? J Physiol 583:855, 2007. Koerselman J, van der Graaf Y, de Jaegere PP, et al: Coronary collaterals: an important and underexposed aspect of coronary artery disease, Circulation 107:2507, 2003. Levine BD: VO2max: what do we know, and what do we still need to know? J Physiol 586:25, 2008. Reynolds HR, Hochman J: Cardiogenic shock: current concepts and improving outcomes, Circulation 117:686, 2008. Richardson RS: Oxygen transport and utilization: an integration of the muscle systems, Adv Physiol Educ 27:183, 2003. Renault MA, Losordo DW: Therapeutic myocardial angiogenesis, Microvasc Res 74:159, 2007. Saltin B: Exercise hyperaemia: magnitude and aspects on regulation in humans, J Physiol 583:819, 2007. Tsai AG, Johnson PC, Intaglietta M: Oxygen gradients in the microcirculation, Physiol Rev 83:933, 2003. Yellon DM, Downey JM: Preconditioning the myocardium: from cellular physiology to clinical cardiology, Physiol Rev 83:1113, 2003.

253

Unit IV

dure has been used to open partially blocked coronary vessels before they become totally occluded. This procedure, called coronary artery angioplasty, is the following: A small balloon-tipped catheter, about 1 millimeter in diameter, is passed under radiographic guidance into the coronary system and pushed through the partially occluded artery until the balloon portion of the catheter straddles the partially occluded point. Then the balloon is inflated with high pressure, which markedly stretches the diseased artery. After this procedure is performed, the blood flow through the vessel often increases threefold to fourfold, and more than 75 percent of the patients who undergo the procedure are relieved of the coronary ­ischemic symptoms for at least several years, although many of the patients still eventually require coronary bypass surgery. Small stainless steel mesh tubes called “stents” are sometimes placed inside a coronary artery dilated by angioplasty to hold the artery open, thus preventing its restenosis. Within a few weeks after the stent is placed in the coronary artery, the endothelium usually grows over the metal surface of the stent, allowing blood to flow smoothly through the stent. However, reclosure (restenosis) of the blocked coronary artery occurs in about 25 to 40 percent of patients treated with angioplasty, often within 6 months of the initial procedure. This is usually due to excessive formation of scar tissue that develops underneath the healthy new endothelium that has grown over the stent. Stents that slowly release drugs (drug-eluting stents) may help to prevent the excessive growth of scar tissue. Newer procedures for opening atherosclerotic coronary arteries are constantly in experimental development. One of these employs a laser beam from the tip of a ­coronary artery catheter aimed at the atherosclerotic

lesion. The laser literally dissolves the lesion without substantially damaging the rest of the arterial wall.

This page intentionally left blank

chapter 22

One of the most important ailments that must be treated by the physician is cardiac failure (“heart failure”). This can result from any heart condition that reduces the ability of the heart to pump blood. The cause is usually decreased contractility of the myocardium resulting from diminished coronary blood flow. However, failure can also be caused by damaged heart valves, external pressure around the heart, vitamin B deficiency, primary cardiac muscle disease, or any other abnormality that makes the heart a hypoeffective pump. In this chapter, we discuss mainly cardiac failure caused by ischemic heart disease resulting from partial blockage of the coronary blood vessels, the most common cause of heart failure. In Chapter 23, we discuss valvular and congenital heart disease.

Definition of Cardiac Failure.  The term “cardiac failure” means simply failure of the heart to pump enough blood to satisfy the needs of the body.

Circulatory Dynamics in Cardiac Failure Acute Effects of Moderate Cardiac Failure If a heart suddenly becomes severely damaged, such as by myocardial infarction, the pumping ability of the heart is immediately depressed. As a result, two main effects occur: (1) reduced cardiac output and (2) damming of blood in the veins, resulting in increased venous pressure. The progressive changes in heart pumping effectiveness at different times after an acute myocardial infarction are shown graphically in Figure 22-1. The top curve of this figure shows a normal cardiac output curve. Point A on this curve is the normal operating point, showing a normal cardiac output under resting conditions of 5 L/ min and a right atrial pressure of 0 mm Hg. Immediately after the heart becomes damaged, the cardiac output curve becomes greatly lowered, falling to the lowest curve at the bottom of the graph. Within a few seconds, a new circulatory state is established at point B,

illustrating that the cardiac output has fallen to 2 L/min, about two-fifths normal, whereas the right atrial pressure has risen to +4 mm Hg because venous blood returning to the heart from the body is dammed up in the right atrium. This low cardiac output is still sufficient to sustain life for perhaps a few hours, but it is likely to be associated with fainting. Fortunately, this acute stage usually lasts for only a few seconds because sympathetic nervous reflexes occur almost immediately and compensate, to a great extent, for the damaged heart, as follows.

Compensation for Acute Cardiac Failure by Sympathetic Nervous Reflexes.  When the cardiac out-

put falls precariously low, many of the circulatory reflexes discussed in Chapter 18 are rapidly activated. The best known of these is the baroreceptor reflex, which is activated by diminished arterial pressure. The chemoreceptor reflex, the central nervous system ischemic response, and even reflexes that originate in the damaged heart also likely contribute to activating the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetics therefore become strongly stimulated within a few seconds, and the parasympathetic nervous signals to the heart become reciprocally inhibited at the same time. Strong sympathetic stimulation has major effects on the heart itself and on the peripheral vasculature. If all the ventricular musculature is diffusely damaged but is still functional, sympathetic stimulation strengthens this damaged musculature. If part of the muscle is nonfunctional and part of it is still normal, the normal muscle is strongly stimulated by sympathetic stimulation, in this way partially compensating for the nonfunctional muscle. Thus, the heart becomes a stronger pump as a result of sympathetic stimulation. This effect is illustrated in Figure 22-1, showing after sympathetic compensation about twofold elevation of the very low cardiac output curve. Sympathetic stimulation also increases venous return because it increases the tone of most of the blood vessels of the circulation, especially the veins, raising the mean systemic filling pressure to 12 to 14 mm Hg, almost 100 percent above normal. As discussed in Chapter 20, this increased filling pressure greatly increases the tendency for blood to flow from the veins back into the heart. 255

Unit IV

Cardiac Failure

Unit IV  The Circulation Normal heart Partially recovered heart Damaged heart + sympathetic stimulation

Cardiac output (L/min)

15

Acutely damaged heart

10

A

5

D C B

0

−4

−2

0 +2 +4 +6 +8 +10 +12 +14 Right atrial pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 22-1  Progressive changes in the cardiac output curve after acute myocardial infarction. Both the cardiac output and right atrial pressure change progressively from point A to point D (illustrated by the black line) over a period of seconds, minutes, days, and weeks.

Therefore, the damaged heart becomes primed with more inflowing blood than usual, and the right atrial pressure rises still further, which helps the heart to pump still larger quantities of blood. Thus, in Figure 22-1, the new circulatory state is depicted by point C, showing a cardiac output of 4.2 L/min and a right atrial pressure of 5 mm Hg. The sympathetic reflexes become maximally developed in about 30 seconds. Therefore, a person who has a sudden, moderate heart attack might experience nothing more than cardiac pain and a few seconds of fainting. Shortly thereafter, with the aid of the sympathetic reflex compensations, the cardiac output may return to a level adequate to sustain the person if he or she remains quiet, although the pain might persist.

Chronic Stage of Failure—Fluid Retention and Compensated Cardiac Output After the first few minutes of an acute heart attack, a prolonged semichronic state begins, characterized mainly by two events: (1) retention of fluid by the kidneys and (2) varying degrees of recovery of the heart itself over a period of weeks to months, as illustrated by the light green curve in Figure 22-1; this was also discussed in Chapter 21.

Renal Retention of Fluid and Increase in Blood Volume Occur for Hours to Days A low cardiac output has a profound effect on renal function, sometimes causing anuria when the cardiac output falls to 50 to 60 percent of normal. In general, the urine output remains below normal as long as the cardiac output and arterial pressure remain significantly less than normal; urine output usually does not return all the way to normal after an acute heart attack until the cardiac output and arterial pressure rise almost to normal levels. 256

Moderate Fluid Retention in Cardiac Failure Can Be Beneficial.  Many cardiologists have considered fluid retention always to have a detrimental effect in cardiac failure. But it is now known that a moderate increase in body fluid and blood volume is an important factor in helping to compensate for the diminished pumping ability of the heart by increasing the venous return. The increased blood volume increases venous return in two ways: First, it increases the mean systemic filling pressure, which increases the pressure gradient for causing venous flow of blood toward the heart. Second, it distends the veins, which reduces the venous resistance and allows even more ease of flow of blood to the heart. If the heart is not too greatly damaged, this increased venous return can often fully compensate for the heart’s diminished pumping ability—enough that even when the heart’s pumping ability is reduced to as low as 40 to 50 percent of normal, the increased venous return can often cause entirely nearly normal cardiac output as long as the person remains in a quiet resting state. When the heart’s pumping capability is reduced further, blood flow to the kidneys finally becomes too low for the kidneys to excrete enough salt and water to equal salt and water intake. Therefore, fluid retention begins and continues indefinitely, unless major therapeutic procedures are used to prevent this. Furthermore, because the heart is already pumping at its maximum pumping capacity, this excess fluid no longer has a beneficial effect on the circulation. Instead, the fluid retention increases the workload on the already damaged heart and severe edema develops throughout the body, which can be very detrimental in itself and can lead to death. Detrimental Effects of Excess Fluid Retention in Severe Cardiac Failure.  In contrast to the beneficial effects of moderate fluid retention in cardiac failure, in severe failure extreme excesses of fluid can have serious physiological consequences. They include (1) increasing the workload on the damaged heart, (2) overstretching of the heart, thus weakening the heart still more; (3) filtration of fluid into the lungs, causing pulmonary edema and consequent deoxygenation of the blood; and (4) development of extensive edema in most parts of the body. These detrimental effects of excessive fluid are discussed in later sections of this chapter.

Recovery of the Myocardium After Myocardial Infarction After a heart becomes suddenly damaged as a result of myocardial infarction, the natural reparative processes of the body begin to help restore normal cardiac function. For instance, a new collateral blood supply begins to penetrate the peripheral portions of the infarcted area of the heart, often causing much of the heart muscle in the fringe areas to become functional again. Also, the undamaged portion of the heart musculature hypertrophies, in this way offsetting much of the cardiac damage. The degree of recovery depends on the type of cardiac damage, and it varies from no recovery to almost

Chapter 22  Cardiac Failure

To summarize the events discussed in the past few sections describing the dynamics of circulatory changes after an acute, moderate heart attack, we can divide the stages into (1) the instantaneous effect of the cardiac damage; (2) compensation by the sympathetic nervous system, which occurs mainly within the first 30 seconds to 1 minute; and (3) chronic compensations resulting from partial heart recovery and renal retention of fluid. All these changes are shown graphically by the black line in Figure 22-1. The progression of this line shows the normal state of the circulation (point A), the state a few seconds after the heart attack but before sympathetic reflexes have occurred (point B), the rise in cardiac output toward normal caused by sympathetic stimulation (point C), and final return of the cardiac output to almost normal after several days to several weeks of partial cardiac recovery and fluid retention (point D). This final state is called compensated heart failure.

Compensated Heart Failure.  Note especially in

Figure 22-1 that the maximum pumping ability of the partly recovered heart, as depicted by the plateau level

Dynamics of Severe Cardiac Failure— Decompensated Heart Failure If the heart becomes severely damaged, no amount of compensation, either by sympathetic nervous reflexes or by fluid retention, can make the excessively weakened heart pump a normal cardiac output. As a consequence, the cardiac output cannot rise high enough to make the kidneys excrete normal quantities of fluid. Therefore, fluid continues to be retained, the person develops more and more edema, and this state of events eventually leads to death. This is called decompensated heart failure. Thus, the main cause of decompensated heart failure is failure of the heart to pump sufficient blood to make the kidneys excrete daily the necessary amounts of fluid.

Graphical Analysis of Decompensated Heart Failure.  Figure 22-2 shows greatly depressed cardiac out-

put at different times (points A to F) after the heart has become severely weakened. Point A on this curve represents the approximate state of the circulation before any compensation has occurred, and point B, the state a few minutes later after sympathetic stimulation has Critical cardiac output level for normal fluid balance Cardiac output (L/min)

Summary of the Changes That Occur After Acute Cardiac Failure—“Compensated Heart Failure”

of the light green curve, is still depressed to less than one-half normal. This demonstrates that an increase in right atrial pressure can maintain the cardiac output at a normal level despite continued weakness of the heart. Thus, many people, especially older people, have normal resting cardiac outputs but mildly to moderately elevated right atrial pressures because of various degrees of “compensated heart failure.” These persons may not know that they have cardiac damage because the damage often has occurred a little at a time, and the compensation has occurred concurrently with the progressive stages of damage. When a person is in compensated heart failure, any attempt to perform heavy exercise usually causes immediate return of the symptoms of acute failure because the heart is not able to increase its pumping capacity to the levels required for the exercise. Therefore, it is said that the cardiac reserve is reduced in compensated heart failure. This concept of cardiac reserve is discussed more fully later in the chapter.

5.0 2.5 0

A −4

B

C

D

E

0 +4 +8 +12 Right atrial pressure (mm Hg)

F +16

Figure 22-2  Greatly depressed cardiac output that indicates de­compensated heart disease. Progressive fluid retention raises the right atrial pressure over a period of days, and the cardiac output progresses from point A to point F, until death occurs.

257

Unit IV

complete recovery. After acute myocardial infarction, the heart ordinarily recovers rapidly during the first few days and weeks and achieves most of its final state of recovery within 5 to 7 weeks, although mild degrees of additional recovery can continue for months. Cardiac Output Curve After Partial Recovery.  Figure 22-1 shows function of the partially recovered heart a week or so after acute myocardial infarction. By this time, considerable fluid has been retained in the body and the tendency for venous return has increased markedly as well; therefore, the right atrial pressure has risen even more. As a result, the state of the circulation is now changed from point C to point D, which shows a normal cardiac output of 5 L/min but right atrial pressure increased to 6 mm Hg. Because the cardiac output has returned to normal, renal output of fluid also returns to normal and no further fluid retention occurs, except that the retention of fluid that has already occurred continues to maintain moderate excesses of fluid. Therefore, except for the high right atrial pressure represented by point D in this figure, the person now has essentially normal cardiovascular dynamics as long as he or she remains at rest. If the heart recovers to a significant extent and if adequate fluid volume has been retained, the sympathetic stimulation gradually abates toward normal for the following reasons: The partial recovery of the heart can elevate the cardiac output curve the same as sympathetic stimulation can. Therefore, as the heart recovers even slightly, the fast pulse rate, cold skin, and pallor resulting from sympathetic stimulation in the acute stage of cardiac failure gradually disappear.

Unit IV  The Circulation

c­ ompensated as much as it can but before fluid retention has begun. At this time, the cardiac output has risen to 4 L/min and the right atrial pressure has risen to 5 mm Hg. The person appears to be in reasonably good condition, but this state will not remain stable because the cardiac output has not risen high enough to cause adequate kidney excretion of fluid; therefore, fluid retention continues and can eventually be the cause of death. These events can be explained quantitatively in the following way. Note the straight line in Figure 22-2, at a cardiac output level of 5 L/min. This is approximately the critical cardiac output level that is required in the normal adult person to make the kidneys re-establish normal fluid ­balance—that is, for the output of salt and water to be as great as the intake of these. At any cardiac output below this level, all the fluid-retaining mechanisms discussed in the earlier section remain in play and the body fluid volume increases progressively. And because of this progressive increase in fluid volume, the mean systemic filling pressure of the circulation continues to rise; this forces progressively increasing quantities of blood from the person’s peripheral veins into the right atrium, thus increasing the right atrial pressure. After 1 day or so, the state of the circulation changes in Figure 22-2 from point B to point C—the right atrial pressure rising to 7 mm Hg and the cardiac output to 4.2 L/min. Note again that the cardiac output is still not high enough to cause normal renal output of fluid; therefore, fluid continues to be retained. After another day or so, the right atrial pressure rises to 9 mm Hg, and the circulatory state becomes that depicted by point D. Still, the cardiac output is not enough to establish normal fluid balance. After another few days of fluid retention, the right atrial pressure has risen still further, but by now, cardiac function is beginning to decline toward a lower level. This decline is caused by overstretch of the heart, edema of the heart muscle, and other factors that diminish the heart’s pumping performance. It is now clear that further retention of fluid will be more detrimental than beneficial to the circulation. Yet the cardiac output still is not high enough to bring about normal renal function, so fluid retention not only continues but accelerates because of the falling cardiac output (and falling arterial pressure that also occurs). Consequently, within a few days, the state of the circulation has reached point F on the curve, with the cardiac output now less than 2.5 L/min and the right atrial pressure 16 mm Hg. This state has approached or reached incompatibility with life, and the patient dies unless this chain of events can be reversed. This state of heart failure in which the failure continues to worsen is called decompensated heart failure. Thus, one can see from this analysis that failure of the cardiac output (and arterial pressure) to rise to the critical level required for normal renal function results in (1) progressive retention of more and more fluid, which causes (2) progressive elevation of the mean systemic filling pressure, and (3) progressive elevation of the right atrial pressure until finally the heart is so overstretched or so 258

edematous that it cannot pump even moderate quantities of blood and, therefore, fails completely. Clinically, one detects this serious condition of decompensation principally by the progressing edema, especially edema of the lungs, which leads to bubbling rales (a crackling sound) in the lungs and to dyspnea (air hunger). Lack of appropriate therapy when this state of events occurs rapidly leads to death.

Treatment of Decompensation.  The decompensation process can often be stopped by (1) strengthening the heart in any one of several ways, especially by administration of a cardiotonic drug, such as digitalis, so that the heart becomes strong enough to pump adequate quantities of blood required to make the kidneys function ­normally again, or (2) administering diuretic drugs to increase kidney excretion while at the same time reducing water and salt intake, which brings about a balance between fluid intake and output despite low cardiac output. Both methods stop the decompensation process by reestablishing normal fluid balance so that at least as much fluid leaves the body as enters it. Mechanism of Action of the Cardiotonic Drugs Such as Digitalis.  Cardiotonic drugs, such as digitalis,

when administered to a person with a healthy heart, have little effect on increasing the contractile strength of the cardiac muscle. However, when administered to a person with a chronically failing heart, the same drugs can sometimes increase the strength of the failing myocardium as much as 50 to 100 percent. Therefore, they are one of the mainstays of therapy in chronic heart failure. Digitalis and other cardiotonic glycosides are believed to strengthen heart contractions by increasing the quantity of calcium ions in muscle fibers. This effect is likely due to inhibition of sodium-potassium ATPase in cardiac cell membranes. Inhibition of the sodiumpotassium pump increases intracellular sodium concentration and slows the sodium-calcium exchange pump, which extrudes calcium from the cell in exchange for sodium. Because the sodium-calcium exchange pump relies on a high sodium gradient across the cell membrane, accumulation of sodium inside the cell reduces its activity. In the failing heart muscle, the sarcoplasmic reticulum fails to accumulate normal quantities of calcium and, therefore, cannot release enough calcium ions into the free-fluid compartment of the muscle fibers to cause full contraction of the muscle. The effect of digitalis to depress the sodium-calcium exchange pump and raise calcium ion concentration in cardiac muscle provides the extra calcium needed to increase the muscle contractile force. Therefore, it is usually beneficial to depress the calcium pumping mechanism a moderate amount using digitalis, allowing the muscle fiber intracellular calcium level to rise slightly.

Chapter 22  Cardiac Failure

Unilateral Left Heart Failure

Low-Output Cardiac Failure- Cardiogenic Shock In many instances after acute heart attacks and often after prolonged periods of slow progressive cardiac deterioration, the heart becomes incapable of pumping even the minimal amount of blood flow required to keep the body alive. Consequently, the body tissues begin to suffer and even to deteriorate, often leading to death within a few hours to a few days. The picture then is one of circulatory shock, as explained in Chapter 24. Even the cardiovascular system suffers from lack of nutrition, and it, too (along with the remainder of the body), deteriorates, thus hastening death. This circulatory shock syndrome caused by inadequate cardiac pumping is called cardiogenic shock or simply cardiac shock. Once a person develops cardiogenic shock, the survival rate is often less than 30 percent even with appropriate medical care.

Vicious Circle of Cardiac Deterioration in Cardiogenic Shock.  The discussion of circulatory shock

in Chapter 24 emphasizes the tendency for the heart to become progressively more damaged when its coronary blood supply is reduced during the course of the shock. That is, the low arterial pressure that occurs during shock reduces the coronary blood supply even more. This makes

Physiology of Treatment.  Often a patient dies of cardiogenic shock before the various compensatory ­processes can return the cardiac output (and arterial pressure) to a life-sustaining level. Therefore, treatment of this condition is one of the most important problems in the management of acute heart attacks. Immediate administration of digitalis is often used for strengthening the heart if the ventricular muscle shows signs of deterioration. Also, infusion of whole blood, plasma, or a blood pressure–raising drug is used to sustain the arterial pressure. If the arterial pressure can be elevated high enough, the coronary blood flow often will increase enough to prevent the vicious circle of deterioration. And this allows enough time for appropriate compensatory mechanisms in circulatory system to correct the shock. Some success has also been achieved in saving the lives of patients in cardiogenic shock by using one of the following procedures: (1) surgically removing the clot in the coronary artery, often in combination with coronary bypass graft, or (2) catheterizing the blocked coronary artery and infusing either streptokinase or tissue-type plasminogen activator enzymes that cause dissolution of the clot. The results are occasionally astounding when one of these procedures is instituted within the first hour of cardiogenic shock but of little, if any, benefit after 3 hours.

Edema in Patients with Cardiac Failure Inability of Acute Cardiac Failure to Cause Peripheral Edema.  Acute left heart failure can cause

rapid congestion of the lungs, with development of pulmonary edema and even death within minutes to hours. However, either left or right heart failure is very slow to cause peripheral edema. This can best be explained by referring to Figure 22-3. When a previously healthy heart acutely fails as a pump, the aortic pressure falls and the right atrial pressure rises. As the cardiac output approaches zero, these two pressures approach each other at an ­equilibrium value of about 13 mm Hg. 259

Unit IV

In the discussions thus far in this chapter, we have considered failure of the heart as a whole. Yet, in a large number of patients, especially those with early acute failure, leftsided failure predominates over right-sided failure, and, in rare instances, the right side fails without significant failure of the left side. Therefore, we need to discuss the ­special features of unilateral heart failure. When the left side of the heart fails without concomitant failure of the right side, blood continues to be pumped into the lungs with usual right heart vigor, whereas it is not pumped adequately out of the lungs by the left heart into the systemic circulation. As a result, the mean pulmonary filling pressure rises because of shift of large volumes of blood from the systemic circulation into the pulmonary circulation. As the volume of blood in the lungs increases, the pulmonary capillary pressure increases, and if this rises above a value approximately equal to the colloid osmotic pressure of the plasma, about 28 mm Hg, fluid begins to filter out of the capillaries into the lung interstitial spaces and alveoli, resulting in pulmonary edema. Thus, among the most important problems of left heart failure are pulmonary vascular congestion and pulmonary edema. In severe, acute left heart failure, pulmonary edema occasionally occurs so rapidly that it can cause death by suffocation in 20 to 30 minutes, which we discuss later in the chapter.

the heart still weaker, which makes the arterial pressure fall still more, which makes the shock progressively worse, the process eventually becoming a vicious circle of cardiac deterioration. In cardiogenic shock caused by myocardial infarction, this problem is greatly compounded by already existing coronary vessel blockage. For instance, in a healthy heart, the arterial pressure usually must be reduced below about 45 mm Hg before cardiac deterioration sets in. However, in a heart that already has a blocked major coronary vessel, deterioration begins when the coronary arterial pressure falls below 80 to 90 mm Hg. In other words, even a small decrease in arterial pressure can now set off a vicious circle of cardiac deterioration. For this reason, in treating myocardial infarction, it is extremely important to prevent even short periods of hypotension.

Unit IV  The Circulation Mean aortic pressure Capillary pressure

Pressure (mm Hg)

100

Right atrial pressure

80 60 40

13 mm Hg

20 0 Normal

1/2 Normal Cardiac output

Zero

Figure 22-3  Progressive changes in mean aortic pressure, peripheral tissue capillary pressure, and right atrial pressure as the cardiac output falls from normal to zero.

Capillary pressure also falls from its normal value of 17 mm Hg to the new equilibrium pressure of 13 mm Hg. Thus, severe acute cardiac failure often causes a fall in peripheral capillary pressure rather than a rise. Therefore, animal experiments, as well as experience in humans, show that acute cardiac failure almost never causes immediate development of peripheral edema.

Long-Term Fluid Retention by the Kidneys— the Cause of Peripheral Edema in Persisting Heart Failure After the first day or so of overall heart failure or of rightventricular heart failure, peripheral edema does begin to occur principally because of fluid retention by the kidneys. The retention of fluid increases the mean systemic filling pressure, resulting in increased tendency for blood to return to the heart. This elevates the right atrial pressure to a still higher value and returns the arterial pressure back toward normal. Therefore, the capillary pressure now also rises markedly, thus causing loss of fluid into the tissues and development of severe edema. There are several known causes of the reduced renal output of urine during cardiac failure. 1. Decreased glomerular filtration rate. A decrease in cardiac output has a tendency to reduce the glo­ merular pressure in the kidneys because of (1) reduced arterial pressure and (2) intense sympathetic constriction of the afferent arterioles of the kidney. As a consequence, except in the mildest degrees of heart failure, the glomerular filtration rate becomes less than normal. It is clear from the discussion of kidney function in Chapters 26 through 29 that even a slight decrease in glomerular filtration often markedly decreases urine output. When the cardiac output falls to about onehalf normal, this can result in almost complete anuria. 2. Activation of the renin-angiotensin system and increased reabsorption of water and salt by the renal tubules. The reduced blood flow to the kidneys 260

causes marked increase in renin secretion by the kidneys, and this in turn increases the formation of angiotensin II, as described in Chapter 19. The angiotensin in turn has a direct effect on the arterioles of the kidneys to decrease further the blood flow through the kidneys, which reduces the pressure in the peritubular capillaries surrounding the renal tubules, promoting greatly increased reabsorption of both water and salt from the tubules. Angiotensin also acts directly on the renal tubular epithelial cells to stimulate reabsorption of salt and water. Therefore, loss of water and salt into the urine decreases greatly, and large quantities of salt and water accumulate in the blood and interstitial fluids everywhere in the body. 3. Increased aldosterone secretion. In the chronic stage of heart failure, large quantities of aldosterone are secreted by the adrenal cortex. This results mainly from the effect of angiotensin to stimulate aldosterone secretion by the adrenal cortex. But some of the increase in aldosterone secretion often results from increased plasma potassium. Excess potassium is one of the most powerful stimuli known for aldosterone secretion, and the potassium concentration rises in response to reduced renal function in cardiac failure.   The elevated aldosterone level further increases the reabsorption of sodium from the renal tubules. This in turn leads to a secondary increase in water reabsorption for two reasons: First, as the sodium is reabsorbed, it reduces the osmotic pressure in the tubules but increases the osmotic pressure in the renal interstitial fluids; these changes promote osmosis of water into the blood. Second, the absorbed sodium and anions that go with the sodium, mainly chloride ions, increase the osmotic concentration of the extracellular fluid everywhere in the body. This elicits antidiuretic hormone secretion by the hypothalamic-posterior pituitary gland system (discussed in Chapter 29). The antidiuretic hormone in turn promotes still greater increase in tubular reabsorption of water. 4. Activation of the sympathetic nervous system. As discussed previously, heart failure causes marked activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn has several effects that lead to salt and water retention by the kidneys: (1) constriction of renal afferent arterioles, which reduces glomerular filtration rate; (2) stimulation of renal tubular reabsorption of salt and water by activation of alpha-adrenergic receptors on tubular epithelial cells; (3) stimulation of renin release and angiotensin II formation, which increases renal tubular reabsorption; and (4) stimulation of antidiuretic hormone release from the posterior pituitary, which then increases water reabsorption by the renal tubules. These effects of sympathetic stimulation are discussed in more detail in Chapters 26 and 27. Role of Atrial Natriuretic Peptide to Delay Onset of Cardiac Decompensation.  Atrial natriuretic peptide

Chapter 22  Cardiac Failure

A frequent cause of death in heart failure is acute pulmonary edema occurring in patients who have already had chronic heart failure for a long time. When this occurs in a person without new cardiac damage, it usually is set off by some temporary overload of the heart, such as might result from a bout of heavy exercise, some emotional experience, or even a severe cold. The acute pulmonary edema is believed to result from the following vicious circle: 1. A temporarily increased load on the already weak left ventricle initiates the vicious circle. Because of limited pumping capacity of the left heart, blood begins to dam up in the lungs. 2. The increased blood in the lungs elevates the pulmonary capillary pressure, and a small amount of fluid begins to transude into the lung tissues and alveoli. 3. The increased fluid in the lungs diminishes the degree of oxygenation of the blood. 4. The decreased oxygen in the blood further weakens the heart and also weakens the arterioles everywhere in the body, thus causing peripheral vasodilation. 5. The peripheral vasodilation increases venous return of blood from the peripheral circulation still more. 6. The increased venous return further increases the damming of the blood in the lungs, leading to still more transudation of fluid, more arterial oxygen desaturation, more venous return, and so forth. Thus, a vicious circle has been established. Once this vicious circle has proceeded beyond a certain critical point, it will continue until death of the patient unless heroic therapeutic measures are used within minutes. The types of heroic therapeutic measures that can reverse the process and save the patient’s life include the following: 1. Putting tourniquets on both arms and legs to sequester much of the blood in the veins and, therefore, decrease the workload on the left side of the heart 2. Giving a rapidly acting diuretic, such as furosemide, to cause rapid loss of fluid from the body 3. Giving the patient pure oxygen to breathe to reverse the blood oxygen desaturation, the heart deterioration, and the peripheral vasodilation

This vicious circle of acute pulmonary edema can proceed so rapidly that death can occur in 20 minutes to 1 hour. Therefore, any procedure that is to be successful must be instituted immediately.

Cardiac Reserve The maximum percentage that the cardiac output can increase above normal is called the cardiac reserve. Thus, in the healthy young adult, the cardiac reserve is 300 to 400 percent. In athletically trained persons, it is 500 to 600 percent or more. But in heart failure, there is no cardiac reserve. As an example of normal reserve, during severe exercise the cardiac output of a healthy young adult can rise to about five times normal; this is an increase above normal of 400 percent—that is, a cardiac reserve of 400 percent. Any factor that prevents the heart from pumping blood satisfactorily will decrease the cardiac reserve. This can result from ischemic heart disease, primary myocardial disease, vitamin deficiency that affects cardiac muscle, physical damage to the myocardium, valvular heart disease, and many other factors, some of which are shown in Figure 22-4.

Diagnosis of Low Cardiac Reserve—Exercise Test.  As long as persons with low cardiac reserve remain

in a state of rest, they usually will not experience major symptoms of heart disease. However, a diagnosis of low cardiac reserve usually can be easily made by requiring the person to exercise either on a treadmill or by walking up and down steps, either of which requires greatly increased cardiac output. The increased load on the heart rapidly uses up the small amount of reserve that is available, and the cardiac output soon fails to rise high enough to sustain the body’s new level of activity. The acute effects are as follows: 1. Immediate and sometimes extreme shortness of breath (dyspnea) resulting from failure of the heart to pump

600 Cardiac reserve (%)

Acute Pulmonary Edema in Late-Stage Heart Failure—Another Lethal Vicious Circle

4. Giving the patient a rapidly acting cardiotonic drug, such as digitalis, to strengthen the heart

500 400 300 200 100

Normal 0 operation

Athlete

Normal

Mild valvular disease

Moderate coronary disease Diphtheria Severe coronary thrombosis

Severe valvular disease

Figure 22-4  Cardiac reserve in different conditions, showing less than zero reserve for two of the conditions.

261

Unit IV

(ANP) is a hormone released by the atrial walls of the heart when they become stretched. Because heart failure almost always increases both the right and left atrial pressures that stretch the atrial walls, the circulating levels of ANP in the blood may increase 5- to 10-fold in severe heart failure. The ANP in turn has a direct effect on the kidneys to increase greatly their excretion of salt and water. Therefore, ANP plays a natural role to help prevent extreme congestive symptoms during cardiac failure. The renal effects of ANP are discussed in Chapter 29.

Unit IV  The Circulation

sufficient blood to the tissues, thereby causing tissue ischemia and creating a sensation of air hunger 2. Extreme muscle fatigue resulting from muscle ischemia, thus limiting the person’s ability to continue with the exercise 3. Excessive increase in heart rate because the nervous reflexes to the heart overreact in an attempt to overcome the inadequate cardiac output Exercise tests are part of the armamentarium of the cardiologist. These tests take the place of cardiac output measurements that cannot be made with ease in most clinical settings.

Quantitative Graphical Method for Analysis of Cardiac Failure Although it is possible to understand most general principles of cardiac failure using mainly qualitative logic, as we have done thus far in this chapter, one can grasp the importance of the different factors in cardiac failure with far greater depth by using more quantitative approaches. One such approach is the graphical method for analysis of cardiac output regulation introduced in Chapter 20. In the remaining sections of this chapter, we analyze several aspects of cardiac failure, using this graphical technique.

Graphical Analysis of Acute Heart Failure and Chronic Compensation

Cardiac output and venous return (L/min)

Figure 22-5 shows cardiac output and venous return curves for different states of the heart and peripheral circulation. The two curves passing through Point A are (1) the normal cardiac output curve and (2) the normal venous return curve. As pointed out in Chapter 20, there is only one point on each of these two curves at which the circulatory system can operate—point A where the two curves cross. Therefore, the normal state of the circulation is a cardiac output and venous return of 5 L/min and a right atrial pressure of 0 mm Hg. Effect of Acute Heart Attack.  During the first few seconds after a moderately severe heart attack, the cardiac output curve falls to the lowermost curve. During these few seconds, the venous return curve still has not changed because the peripheral circulatory system is still operating normally. Therefore, the new state of the circulation is depicted by point B, where the new cardiac output curve 15

Normal

10 A

5 0

C

D

B −4

−2

0 2 4 6 8 10 12 Right atrial pressure (mm Hg)

14

Figure 22-5  Progressive changes in cardiac output and right atrial pressure during different stages of cardiac failure.

262

crosses the normal venous return curve. Thus, the right atrial pressure rises immediately to 4 mm Hg, whereas the cardiac output falls to 2 L/min. Effect of Sympathetic Reflexes.  Within the next 30 seconds, the sympathetic reflexes become very active. They raise both the cardiac output and the venous return curves. Sympathetic stimulation can increase the plateau level of the cardiac output curve as much as 30 to 100 percent. It can also increase the mean systemic filling pressure (depicted by the point where the venous return curve crosses the zero venous return axis) by several millimeters of mercury—in this figure, from a normal value of 7 mm Hg up to 10 mm Hg. This increase in mean systemic filling pressure shifts the entire venous return curve to the right and upward. The new cardiac output and venous return curves now equilibrate at point C, that is, at a right atrial pressure of +5 mm Hg and a ­cardiac output of 4 L/min. Compensation During the Next Few Days.  During the ensuing week, the cardiac output and venous return curves rise further because of (1) some recovery of the heart and (2) renal retention of salt and water, which raises the mean systemic filling pressure still further—this time up to +12 mm Hg. The two new curves now equilibrate at point D. Thus, the cardiac output has now returned to normal. The right atrial pressure, however, has risen still further to +6 mm Hg. Because the cardiac output is now normal, renal output is also normal, so a new state of equilibrated fluid balance has been achieved. The circulatory system will continue to function at point D and remain stable, with a normal cardiac output and an elevated right atrial pressure, until some additional extrinsic factor changes either the cardiac output curve or the venous return curve. Using this technique for analysis, one can see especially the importance of moderate fluid retention and how it eventually leads to a new stable state of the circulation in mild to moderate heart failure. And one can also see the interrelation between mean systemic filling pressure and cardiac pumping at various degrees of heart failure. Note that the events described in Figure 22-5 are the same as those presented in Figure 22-1, but in Figure 22-5, they are presented in a more quantitative manner.

Graphical Analysis of “Decompensated” Cardiac Failure The black cardiac output curve in Figure 22-6 is the same as the curve shown in Figure 22-2, a greatly depressed curve that has already reached a degree of recovery as great as this heart can achieve. In this figure, we have added venous return curves that occur during successive days after the acute fall of the cardiac output curve to this low level. At point A, the curve at time zero equates with the normal venous return curve to give a cardiac output of about 3 L/min. However, stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, caused by this low cardiac output, increases the mean systemic filling pressure within 30 seconds from 7 to 10.5 mm Hg. This shifts the venous

10 5

6th day 8th day 4th day 2nd day Autonomi c co mp Normal v ens eno atio us r n etu rn

A 0

−4

−2

Cardiac output and venous return (L/min)

15

Critical cardiac output level for normal fluid balance

15 10

First d

ay Sever al d ays

5 0

Di

ali g it

−4 −2

ze

0

Critical cardiac output level for normal fluid balance

late r H t

G

ear dh

ailing ely frt ver Se hea

2

4

6

E 8

10 12 14 16

Right atrial pressure (mm Hg) B

C

D

E

0 2 4 6 8 10 12 Right atrial pressure (mm Hg)

F 14

16

Figure 22-6  Graphical analysis of decompensated heart disease showing progressive shift of the venous return curve to the right as a result of continued fluid retention.

return curve upward and to the right to produce the curve labeled “autonomic compensation.” Thus, the new venous return curve equates with the cardiac output curve at point B. The cardiac output has been improved to a level of 4 L/min but at the expense of an additional rise in right atrial pressure to 5 mm Hg. The cardiac output of 4 L/min is still too low to cause the kidneys to function normally. Therefore, fluid continues to be retained, and the mean systemic filling pressure rises from 10.5 to almost 13 mm Hg. Now the venous return curve becomes that labeled “2nd day” and equilibrates with the cardiac output curve at point C. The cardiac output rises to 4.2 L/min and the right atrial pressure to 7 mm Hg. During the succeeding days, the cardiac output never rises quite high enough to re-establish normal renal function. Fluid continues to be retained, the mean systemic filling pressure continues to rise, the venous return curve continues to shift to the right, and the equilibrium point between the venous return curve and the cardiac output curve also shifts progressively to point D, to point E, and, finally, to point F. The equilibration process is now on the down slope of the cardiac output curve, so further retention of fluid causes even more severe cardiac edema and a detrimental effect on cardiac output. The condition accelerates downhill until death occurs. Thus, “decompensation” results from the fact that the cardiac output curve never rises to the critical level of 5 L/min needed to re-establish normal kidney excretion of fluid that would be required to cause balance between fluid input and output. Treatment of Decompensated Heart Disease with Digitalis.  Let us assume that the stage of decompensation has already reached point E in Figure 22-6, and let us proceed to the same point E in Figure 22-7. At this time, digitalis is given to strengthen the heart. This raises the cardiac output curve to the level shown in Figure 22-7, but there is not an immediate change in the venous return curve. Therefore, the new cardiac output curve equates

Figure 22-7  Treatment of decompensated heart disease showing the effect of digitalis in elevating the cardiac output curve, this in turn causing increased urine output and progressive shift of the venous return curve to the left.

with the venous return curve at point G. The cardiac output is now 5.7 L/min, a value greater than the critical level of 5 liters required to make the kidneys excrete normal amounts of urine. Therefore, the kidneys eliminate much more fluid than normally, causing diuresis, a well-known therapeutic effect of digitalis. The progressive loss of fluid over a period of several days reduces the mean systemic filling pressure back down to 11.5 mm Hg, and the new venous return curve becomes the curve labeled “Several days later.” This curve equates with the cardiac output curve of the digitalized heart at point H, at an output of 5 L/min and a right atrial pressure of 4.6 mm Hg. This cardiac output is precisely that required for normal fluid balance. Therefore, no additional fluid will be lost and none will be gained. Consequently, the circulatory system has now stabilized, or in other words, the decompensation of the heart failure has been “compensated.” And to state this another way, the final steady-state condition of the circulation is defined by the crossing point of three curves: the cardiac output curve, the venous return curve, and the critical level for normal fluid balance. The compensatory mechanisms automatically stabilize the circulation when all three curves cross at the same point.

Graphical Analysis of High-Output Cardiac Failure Figure 22-8 gives an analysis of two types of high-output cardiac failure. One of these is caused by an arteriovenous fistula that overloads the heart because of excessive venous return, even though the pumping capability of the heart is not depressed. The other is caused by beriberi, in which the venous return is greatly increased because of diminished systemic vascular resistance, but at the same time, the pumping capability of the heart is depressed. Arteriovenous Fistula.  The “normal” curves of Figure 22-8 depict the normal cardiac output and normal venous return curves. These equate with each other at point A, which depicts a normal cardiac output of 5 L/min and a normal right atrial pressure of 0 mm Hg. Now let us assume that the systemic vascular resistance (the total peripheral vascular resistance) becomes greatly decreased because of opening a large arteriovenous fistula (a direct opening between a large artery and a large vein). The venous return curve rotates upward to give the curve 263

Unit IV

Cardiac output and venous return (L/min)

Chapter 22  Cardiac Failure

Unit IV  The Circulation

20

10 5 0

Normal venous return curve

Normal cardiac output curve

la

15

u fist AV

Cardiac output and venous return (L/min)

25

B

C Beriberi heart disease

A −4 −2

0

2

4

6

8

10 12 14 16

Right atrial pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 22-8  Graphical analysis of two types of conditions that can cause high-output cardiac failure: (1) arteriovenous (AV) fistula and (2) beriberi heart disease.

labeled “AV fistula.” This venous return curve equates with the normal cardiac output curve at point B, with a cardiac output of 12.5 L/min and a right atrial pressure of 3 mm Hg. Thus, the cardiac output has become greatly elevated, the right atrial pressure is slightly elevated, and there are mild signs of peripheral congestion. If the person attempts to exercise, he or she will have little cardiac reserve because the heart is already at near-maximum capacity to pump the extra blood through the arteriovenous fistula. This condition resembles a failure condition and is called “high-output failure,” but in reality, the heart is overloaded by excess venous return. Beriberi.  Figure 22-8 shows the approximate changes in the cardiac output and venous return curves caused by beriberi. The decreased level of the cardiac output curve is caused by weakening of the heart because of the avitaminosis (mainly lack of thiamine) that causes the beriberi syndrome. The weakening of the heart has decreased the blood flow to the kidneys. Therefore, the kidneys have retained a large amount of extra body fluid, which in turn has increased the mean systemic filling pressure (represented by the point where the venous return curve now intersects the zero cardiac output level) from the normal value of 7 mm Hg up to 11 mm Hg. This has shifted the venous return curve to the right. Finally, the venous return curve has rotated upward from the normal curve because the avitaminosis has dilated the peripheral blood vessels, as explained in Chapter 17.

264

The two blue curves (cardiac output curve and venous return curve) intersect with each other at point C, which describes the circulatory condition in beriberi, with a right atrial pressure in this instance of 9 mm Hg and a cardiac output about 65 percent above normal; this high cardiac output occurs despite the weak heart, as demonstrated by the depressed plateau level of the cardiac output curve.

Bibliography Abraham WT, Greenberg BH, Yancy CW: Pharmacologic therapies across the continuum of left ventricular dysfunction, Am J Cardiol 102:21G–28G, 2008. Andrew P: Diastolic heart failure demystified, Chest 124:744, 2003. Bers DM: Altered cardiac myocyte Ca regulation in heart failure, Physiology (Bethesda) 21:380, 2006. Braunwald E: Biomarkers in heart failure, N Engl J Med 358:2148, 2008. Dorn GW 2nd, Molkentin JD: Manipulating cardiac contractility in heart failure: data from mice and men, Circulation 109:150, 2004. Floras JS: Sympathetic activation in human heart failure: diverse mechanisms, therapeutic opportunities, Acta Physiol Scand 177:391, 2003. Guyton AC, Jones CE, Coleman TG: Circulatory physiology: cardiac output and its regulation, Philadelphia, 1973, WB Saunders. Haddad F, Doyle R, Murphy DJ, et al: Right ventricular function in cardiovascular disease, part II: pathophysiology, clinical importance, and management of right ventricular failure, Circulation 117:1717, 2008. Ikeda Y, Hoshijima M, Chien KR: Toward biologically targeted therapy of calcium cycling defects in heart failure, Physiology (Bethesda) 23:6, 2008. Lohmeier TE: Neurohumoral regulation of arterial pressure in hemorrhage and heart failure, Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 283:R810, 2002. Mehra MR, Gheorghiade M, Bonow RO: Mitral regurgitation in chronic heart failure: more questions than answers? Curr Cardiol Rep 6:96, 2004. McMurray J, Pfeffer MA: New therapeutic options in congestive heart failure: Part I, Circulation 105:2099, 2002. McMurray J, Pfeffer MA: New therapeutic options in congestive heart failure: Part II, Circulation 105:2223, 2002. Morita H, Seidman J, Seidman CE: Genetic causes of human heart failure, J Clin Invest 115:518, 2005. Pfisterer M: Right ventricular involvement in myocardial infarction and cardiogenic shock, Lancet 362:392, 2003. Pitt B: Aldosterone blockade in patients with chronic heart failure, Cardiol Clin 26:15, 2008. Reynolds HR, Hochman JS: Cardiogenic shock: Current concepts and improving outcomes, Circulation 117:686, 2008. Spodick DH: Acute cardiac tamponade, N Engl J Med 349:684, 2003. Zile MR, Brutsaert DL: New concepts in diastolic dysfunction and diastolic heart failure: Part I: diagnosis, prognosis, and measurements of diastolic function, Circulation 105:1387, 2002. Zucker IH: Novel mechanisms of sympathetic regulation in chronic heart failure, Hypertension 48:1005, 2006.

chapter 23

Function of the heart valves was discussed in Chapter 9, where it was pointed out that closing of the valves causes audible sounds. Ordinarily, no audible sounds occur when the valves open. In this chapter, we first discuss the factors that cause the sounds in the heart under normal and abnormal conditions. Then we discuss the overall circulatory changes that occur when valvular or congenital heart defects are present.

Heart Sounds Normal Heart Sounds Listening with a stethoscope to a normal heart, one hears a sound usually described as “lub, dub, lub, dub.” The “lub” is associated with closure of the atrioventricular (A-V) valves at the beginning of systole, and the “dub” is associated with closure of the semilunar (aortic and pulmonary) valves at the end of systole. The “lub” sound is called the first heart sound, and the “dub” is called the second heart sound, because the normal pumping cycle of the heart is considered to start when the A-V valves close at the onset of ventricular systole.

Causes of the First and Second Heart Sounds.  The earliest explanation for the cause of the heart sounds was that the “slapping” together of the valve leaflets sets up vibrations. However, this has been shown to cause little, if any, of the sound, because the blood between the leaflets cushions the slapping effect and prevents significant sound. Instead, the cause is vibration of the taut valves immediately after closure, along with vibration of the adjacent walls of the heart and major vessels around the heart. That is, in generating the first heart sound, contraction of the ventricles first causes sudden backflow of blood against the A-V valves (the tricuspid and mitral valves), causing them to close and bulge toward the atria until the chordae tendineae abruptly stop the back bulging. The elastic tautness of the chordae tendineae and of

the valves then causes the back-surging blood to bounce forward again into each respective ventricle. This causes the blood and the ventricular walls, as well as the taut valves, to vibrate and causes vibrating turbulence in the blood. The vibrations travel through the adjacent tissues to the chest wall, where they can be heard as sound by using the stethoscope. The second heart sound results from sudden closure of the semilunar valves at the end of systole. When the semilunar valves close, they bulge backward toward the ventricles and their elastic stretch recoils the blood back into the arteries, which causes a short period of reverberation of blood back and forth between the walls of the arteries and the semilunar valves, as well as between these valves and the ventricular walls. The vibrations occurring in the arterial walls are then transmitted mainly along the arteries. When the vibrations of the vessels or ventricles come into contact with a “sounding board,” such as the chest wall, they create sound that can be heard.

Duration and Pitch of the First and Second Heart Sounds.  The duration of each of the heart sounds

is slightly more than 0.10 second—the first sound about 0.14 second, and the second about 0.11 second. The reason for the shorter second sound is that the semilunar valves are more taut than the A-V valves, so they vibrate for a shorter time than do the A-V valves. The audible range of frequency (pitch) in the first and second heart sounds, as shown in Figure 23-1, begins at the lowest frequency the ear can detect, about 40 cycles/ sec, and goes up above 500 cycles/sec. When special electronic apparatus is used to record these sounds, by far a larger proportion of the recorded sound is at frequencies and sound levels below the audible range, going down to 3 to 4 cycles/sec and peaking at about 20 cycles/sec, as illustrated by the lower shaded area in Figure 23-1. For this reason, major portions of the heart sounds can be recorded electronically in phonocardiograms even though they cannot be heard with a stethoscope. The second heart sound normally has a higher ­frequency than the first heart sound for two reasons: (1) the tautness of the semilunar valves in comparison with the much less taut A-V valves, and (2) the greater elas265

Unit IV

Heart Valves and Heart Sounds; Valvular and Congenital Heart Defects

Unit IV  The Circulation Inaudible 100

Heart sounds and murmurs

Dynes/cm2

10

Aortic area

Th

1

res

0.1 Heart sounds and murmurs

0.01

Pulmonic area

ho

Speech area ld

of

au

dib

ility

0.001 0.0001 0

8 32 64 128 256 512 1024 2048 4096 Frequency in cycles per second

Figure 23-1  Amplitude of different-frequency vibrations in the heart sounds and heart murmurs in relation to the threshold of audibility, showing that the range of sounds that can be heard is between 40 and 520 cycles/sec. (Modified from Butterworth JS, Chassin JL, McGrath JJ: Cardiac Auscultation, 2nd ed, New York: Grune & Stratton, 1960.)

tic ­coefficient of the taut arterial walls that provide the principal vibrating chambers for the second sound, in comparison with the much looser, less elastic ventricular chambers that provide the vibrating system for the first heart sound. The clinician uses these differences to distinguish special characteristics of the two respective sounds.

Third Heart Sound.  Occasionally a weak, rumbling third heart sound is heard at the beginning of the middle third of diastole. A logical but unproved explanation of this sound is oscillation of blood back and forth between the walls of the ventricles initiated by inrushing blood from the atria. This is analogous to running water from a faucet into a paper sack, the inrushing water reverberating back and forth between the walls of the sack to cause vibrations in its walls. The reason the third heart sound does not occur until the middle third of diastole is believed to be that in the early part of diastole, the ventricles are not filled sufficiently to create even the small amount of elastic tension necessary for reverberation. The frequency of this sound is usually so low that the ear cannot hear it, yet it can often be recorded in the phonocardiogram. Atrial Heart Sound (Fourth Heart Sound).  An atrial heart sound can sometimes be recorded in the phonocardiogram, but it can almost never be heard with a stethoscope because of its weakness and very low frequency—usually 20 cycles/sec or less. This sound occurs when the atria contract, and presumably, it is caused by the inrush of blood into the ventricles, which initiates vibrations similar to those of the third heart sound. Chest Surface Areas for Auscultation of Normal Heart Sounds Listening to the sounds of the body, usually with the aid of a stethoscope, is called auscultation. Figure 23-2 shows the areas of the chest wall from which the different heart valvular sounds can best be distinguished. Although the 266

Tricuspid area

Mitral area

Figure 23-2  Chest areas from which sound from each valve is best heard.

sounds from all the valves can be heard from all these areas, the cardiologist distinguishes the sounds from the different valves by a process of elimination. That is, he or she moves the stethoscope from one area to another, noting the loudness of the sounds in different areas and gradually picking out the sound components from each valve. The areas for listening to the different heart sounds are not directly over the valves themselves. The aortic area is upward along the aorta because of sound transmission up the aorta, and the pulmonic area is upward along the pulmonary artery. The tricuspid area is over the right ­ventricle, and the mitral area is over the apex of the left ventricle, which is the portion of the heart nearest the surface of the chest; the heart is rotated so that the remainder of the left ventricle lies more posteriorly.

Phonocardiogram If a microphone specially designed to detect low-frequency sound is placed on the chest, the heart sounds can be amplified and recorded by a high-speed recording apparatus. The recording is called a phonocardiogram, and the heart sounds appear as waves, as shown schematically in Figure 23-3. Recording A is an example of normal heart sounds, showing the vibrations of the first, second, and third heart sounds and even the very weak atrial sound. Note specifically that the third and atrial heart sounds are each a very low rumble. The third heart sound can be recorded in only one third to one half of all people, and the atrial heart sound can be recorded in perhaps one fourth of all people.

Valvular Lesions Rheumatic Valvular Lesions By far the greatest number of valvular lesions results from rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever is an autoimmune disease in which the heart valves are likely to be damaged or

Chapter 23  Heart Valves and Heart Sounds; Valvular and Congenital Heart Defects 1st

A

2nd

3rd

Normal

B

Aortic stenosis

C

Mitral regurgitation

D

Aortic regurgitation

E

Mitral stenosis

F Patent ductus arteriosus Diastole

Systole

Diastole

Systole

Figure 23-3  Phonocardiograms from normal and abnormal hearts.

destroyed. It is usually initiated by streptococcal toxin in the following manner. The sequence of events almost always begins with a preliminary streptococcal infection caused specifically by group A hemolytic streptococci. These bacteria initially cause a sore throat, scarlet fever, or middle ear infection. But the streptococci also release several different proteins against which the person’s reticuloendothelial system produces antibodies. The antibodies react not only with the streptococcal protein but also with other protein tissues of the body, often causing severe immunologic damage. These reactions continue to take place as long as the antibodies persist in the blood—1 year or more. Rheumatic fever causes damage especially in certain susceptible areas, such as the heart valves. The degree of heart valve damage is directly correlated with the concentration and persistence of the antibodies. The principles of immunity that relate to this type of reaction are discussed in Chapter 34, and it is noted in Chapter 31 that acute glomerular nephritis of the kidneys has a similar immunologic basis. In rheumatic fever, large hemorrhagic, fibrinous, bulbous lesions grow along the inflamed edges of the heart valves. Because the mitral valve receives more trauma during valvular action than any of the other valves, it is the one most often seriously damaged, and the aortic valve is the second most frequently damaged. The right heart valves, the tricuspid and pulmonary valves, are usually affected much less severely, probably because the low-pressure stresses that act on these valves are slight compared with the high-pressure stresses that act on the left heart valves. Scarring of the Valves.  The lesions of acute rheumatic fever frequently occur on adjacent valve leaflets simultaneously, so the edges of the leaflets become stuck together. Then, weeks, months, or years later, the lesions become scar tissue, permanently fusing portions of adjacent valve

Heart Murmurs Caused by Valvular Lesions As shown by the phonocardiograms in Figure 23-3, many abnormal heart sounds, known as “heart murmurs,” occur when there are abnormalities of the valves, as follows. Systolic Murmur of Aortic Stenosis.  In aortic stenosis, blood is ejected from the left ventricle through only a small fibrous opening of the aortic valve. Because of the resistance to ejection, sometimes the blood pressure in the left ventricle rises as high as 300 mm Hg, while the pressure in the aorta is still normal. Thus, a nozzle effect is created during systole, with blood jetting at tremendous velocity through the small opening of the valve. This causes severe turbulence of the blood in the root of the aorta. The turbulent blood impinging against the aortic walls causes intense vibration, and a loud murmur (see recording B, Figure 23-3) occurs during systole and is transmitted throughout the superior thoracic aorta and even into the large arteries of the neck. This sound is harsh and in severe stenosis may be so loud that it can be heard several feet away from the patient. Also, the sound vibrations can often be felt with the hand on the upper chest and lower neck, a phenomenon known as a “thrill.” Diastolic Murmur of Aortic Regurgitation.  In aortic regurgitation, no abnormal sound is heard during systole, but during diastole, blood flows backward from the highpressure aorta into the left ventricle, causing a “blowing” murmur of relatively high pitch with a swishing quality heard maximally over the left ventricle (see recording D, Figure 23-3). This murmur results from turbulence of blood jetting backward into the blood already in the lowpressure diastolic left ventricle. Systolic Murmur of Mitral Regurgitation.  In mitral regurgitation, blood flows backward through the mitral valve into the left atrium during systole. This also causes a high-frequency “blowing,” swishing sound (see recording C, Figure 23-3) similar to that of aortic regurgitation but occurring during systole rather than diastole. It is transmitted most strongly into the left atrium. However, the left atrium is so deep within the chest that it is difficult to hear this sound directly over the atrium. As a result, the sound 267

Unit IV

leaflets. Also, the free edges of the leaflets, which are normally filmy and free-flapping, often become solid, scarred masses. A valve in which the leaflets adhere to one another so extensively that blood cannot flow through it normally is said to be stenosed. Conversely, when the valve edges are so destroyed by scar tissue that they cannot close as the ventricles contract, regurgitation (backflow) of blood occurs when the valve should be closed. Stenosis usually does not occur without the coexistence of at least some degree of regurgitation, and vice versa. Other Causes of Valvular Lesions.  Stenosis or lack of one or more leaflets of a valve also occurs occasionally as a congenital defect. Complete lack of leaflets is rare; congenital stenosis is more common, as is discussed later in this chapter.

Atrial

Unit IV  The Circulation

of mitral regurgitation is transmitted to the chest wall mainly through the left ventricle to the apex of the heart. Diastolic Murmur of Mitral Stenosis.  In mitral stenosis, blood passes with difficulty through the stenosed mitral valve from the left atrium into the left ventricle, and because the pressure in the left atrium seldom rises above 30 mm Hg, a large pressure differential forcing blood from the left atrium into the left ventricle does not develop. Consequently, the abnormal sounds heard in mitral stenosis (see recording E, Figure 23-3) are usually weak and of very low frequency, so most of the sound spectrum is below the low-frequency end of human hearing. During the early part of diastole, a left ventricle with a stenotic mitral valve has so little blood in it and its walls are so flabby that blood does not reverberate back and forth between the walls of the ventricle. For this reason, even in severe mitral stenosis, no murmur may be heard during the first third of diastole. Then, after partial filling, the ventricle has stretched enough for blood to reverberate and a low rumbling murmur begins. Phonocardiograms of Valvular Murmurs.  Phono­ cardiograms B, C, D, and E of Figure 23-3 show, respectively, idealized records obtained from patients with aortic stenosis, mitral regurgitation, aortic regurgitation, and mitral stenosis. It is obvious from these phonocardiograms that the aortic stenotic lesion causes the loudest murmur, and the mitral stenotic lesion causes the weakest. The phonocardiograms show how the intensity of the murmurs varies during different portions of systole and diastole, and the relative timing of each murmur is also evident. Note especially that the murmurs of aortic stenosis and mitral regurgitation occur only during systole, whereas the murmurs of aortic regurgitation and mitral stenosis occur only during diastole. If the reader does not understand this timing, extra review should be undertaken until it is understood.

Abnormal Circulatory Dynamics in Valvular Heart Disease Dynamics of the Circulation in Aortic Stenosis and Aortic Regurgitation In aortic stenosis, the contracting left ventricle fails to empty adequately, whereas in aortic regurgitation, blood flows backward into the ventricle from the aorta after the ventricle has just pumped the blood into the aorta. Therefore, in either case, the net stroke volume output of the heart is reduced. Several important compensations take place that can ameliorate the severity of the circulatory defects. Some of these compensations are the following.

Hypertrophy of the Left Ventricle.  In both aortic stenosis and aortic regurgitation, the left ventricular musculature hypertrophies because of the increased ventricular workload. 268

In regurgitation, the left ventricular chamber also enlarges to hold all the regurgitant blood from the aorta. Sometimes the left ventricular muscle mass increases fourfold to fivefold, creating a tremendously large left side of the heart. When the aortic valve is seriously stenosed, the hypertrophied muscle allows the left ventricle to develop as much as 400 mm Hg intraventricular pressure at systolic peak. In severe aortic regurgitation, sometimes the hypertrophied muscle allows the left ventricle to pump a stroke volume output as great as 250 ml, although as much as three fourths of this blood returns to the ventricle ­during diastole, and only one fourth flows through the aorta to the body.

Increase in Blood Volume.  Another effect that helps compensate for the diminished net pumping by the left ventricle is increased blood volume. This results from (1) an initial slight decrease in arterial pressure, plus (2) peripheral circulatory reflexes that the decrease in pressure induces. These together diminish renal output of urine, causing the blood volume to increase and the mean arterial pressure to return to normal. Also, red cell mass eventually increases because of a slight degree of tissue hypoxia. The increase in blood volume tends to increase venous return to the heart. This, in turn, causes the left ventricle to pump with the extra power required to overcome the abnormal pumping dynamics. Eventual Failure of the Left Ventricle and Development of Pulmonary Edema In the early stages of aortic stenosis or aortic regurgitation, the intrinsic ability of the left ventricle to adapt to increasing loads prevents significant abnormalities in circulatory function in the person during rest, other than increased work output required of the left ventricle. Therefore, considerable degrees of aortic stenosis or aortic regurgitation often occur before the person knows that he or she has serious heart disease (such as a resting left ventricular systolic pressure as high as 200 mm Hg in aortic stenosis or a left ventricular stroke volume output as high as double normal in aortic regurgitation). Beyond a critical stage in these aortic valve lesions, the left ventricle finally cannot keep up with the work demand. As a consequence, the left ventricle dilates and cardiac output begins to fall; blood simultaneously dams up in the left atrium and in the lungs behind the failing left ventricle. The left atrial pressure rises progressively, and at mean left atrial pressures above 25 to 40 mm Hg, serious edema appears in the lungs, as discussed in detail in Chapter 38.

Dynamics of Mitral Stenosis and Mitral Regurgitation In mitral stenosis, blood flow from the left atrium into the left ventricle is impeded, and in mitral regurgitation, much of the blood that has flowed into the left ventricle

Chapter 23  Heart Valves and Heart Sounds; Valvular and Congenital Heart Defects

Pulmonary Edema in Mitral Valvular Disease.  The buildup of blood in the left atrium causes progressive increase in left atrial pressure, and this eventually results in development of serious pulmonary edema. Ordinarily, lethal edema does not occur until the mean left atrial pressure rises above 25 mm Hg and sometimes as high as 40 mm Hg, because the lung lymphatic vessels enlarge manyfold and can rapidly carry fluid away from the lung tissues. Enlarged Left Atrium and Atrial Fibrillation.  The high left atrial pressure in mitral valvular disease also causes progressive enlargement of the left atrium, which increases the distance that the cardiac electrical excitatory impulse must travel in the atrial wall. This pathway may eventually become so long that it predisposes to development of excitatory signal circus movements, as discussed in Chapter 13. Therefore, in late stages of mitral valvular disease, especially in mitral stenosis, atrial fibrillation usually occurs. This further reduces the pumping effectiveness of the heart and causes further cardiac debility. Compensation in Early Mitral Valvular Disease.  As also occurs in aortic valvular disease and in many types of congenital heart disease, the blood volume increases in mitral valvular disease principally because of diminished excretion of water and salt by the kidneys. This increased blood volume increases venous return to the heart, thereby helping to overcome the effect of the cardiac debility. Therefore, after compensation, cardiac output may fall only minimally until the late stages of mitral valvular disease, even though the left atrial pressure is rising. As the left atrial pressure rises, blood begins to dam up in the lungs, eventually all the way back to the pulmonary artery. In addition, incipient edema of the lungs causes pulmonary arteriolar constriction. These two effects together increase systolic pulmonary arterial pressure and also right ventricular pressure, sometimes to as high as 60 mm Hg, which is more than double normal. This, in turn, causes hypertrophy of the right side of the heart, which partially compensates for its increased workload.

rest, severe symptoms often develop during heavy exercise. For instance, in patients with aortic valvular lesions, exercise can cause acute left ventricular failure followed by acute pulmonary edema. Also, in patients with mitral disease, exercise can cause so much damming of blood in the lungs that serious or even lethal pulmonary edema may ensue in as little as 10 minutes. Even in mild to moderate cases of valvular disease, the patient’s cardiac reserve diminishes in proportion to the severity of the valvular dysfunction. That is, the cardiac output does not increase as much as it should during exercise. Therefore, the muscles of the body fatigue rapidly because of too little increase in muscle blood flow.

Abnormal Circulatory Dynamics in Congenital Heart Defects Occasionally, the heart or its associated blood vessels are malformed during fetal life; the defect is called a congenital anomaly. There are three major types of congenital anomalies of the heart and its associated vessels: (1) stenosis of the channel of blood flow at some point in the heart or in a closely allied major blood vessel; (2) an anomaly that allows blood to flow backward from the left side of the heart or aorta to the right side of the heart or pulmonary artery, thus failing to flow through the systemic circulation-called a left-to-right shunt; and (3) an anomaly that allows blood to flow directly from the right side of the heart into the left side of the heart, thus failing to flow through the lungs—called a right-to-left shunt. The effects of the different stenotic lesions are easily understood. For instance, congenital aortic valve stenosis results in the same dynamic effects as aortic valve stenosis caused by other valvular lesions, namely, a tendency to develop serious pulmonary edema and a reduced cardiac output. Another type of congenital stenosis is coarctation of the aorta, often occurring near the level of the diaphragm. This causes the arterial pressure in the upper part of the body (above the level of the coarctation) to be much greater than the pressure in the lower body because of the great resistance to blood flow through the coarctation to the lower body; part of the blood must go around the coarctation through small collateral arteries, as discussed in Chapter 19.

Patent Ductus Arteriosus—a Left-to-Right Shunt Circulatory Dynamics During Exercise in Patients with Valvular Lesions During exercise, large quantities of venous blood are returned to the heart from the peripheral circulation. Therefore, all the dynamic abnormalities that occur in the different types of valvular heart disease become ­tremendously exacerbated. Even in mild valvular heart disease, in which the symptoms may be unrecognizable at

During fetal life, the lungs are collapsed, and the elastic compression of the lungs that keeps the alveoli collapsed keeps most of the lung blood vessels collapsed as well. Therefore, resistance to blood flow through the lungs is so great that the pulmonary arterial pressure is high in the fetus. Also, because of low resistance to blood flow from the aorta through the large vessels of the placenta, the pressure in the aorta of the fetus is lower than 269

Unit IV

during diastole leaks back into the left atrium during systole rather than being pumped into the aorta. Therefore, either of these conditions reduces net movement of blood from the left atrium into the left ventricle.

Unit IV  The Circulation

normal—in fact, lower than in the pulmonary artery. This causes almost all the pulmonary arterial blood to flow through a special artery present in the fetus that connects the pulmonary artery with the aorta (Figure 23-4), called the ductus arteriosus, thus bypassing the lungs. This allows immediate recirculation of the blood through the systemic arteries of the fetus without the blood going through the lungs. This lack of blood flow through the lungs is not detrimental to the fetus because the blood is oxygenated by the placenta.

Closure of the Ductus Arteriosus After Birth.  As soon as a baby is born and begins to breathe, the lungs inflate; not only do the alveoli fill with air, but also the resistance to blood flow through the pulmonary vascular tree decreases tremendously, allowing the pulmonary arterial pressure to fall. Simultaneously, the aortic pressure rises because of sudden cessation of blood flow from the aorta through the placenta. Thus, the pressure in the pulmonary artery falls, while that in the aorta rises. As a result, forward blood flow through the ductus arteriosus ceases suddenly at birth, and in fact, blood begins to flow backward through the ductus from the aorta into the pulmonary artery. This new state of backward blood flow causes the ductus arteriosus to become occluded within a few hours to a few days in most babies, so blood flow through the ductus does not persist. The ductus is believed to close because the oxygen concentration of the aortic blood now flowing through it is about twice as high as that of the blood flowing from the pulmonary artery into the ductus during fetal life. The oxygen presumably constricts the muscle in the ductus wall. This is discussed further in Chapter 83. Unfortunately, in about 1 of every 5500 babies, the ductus does not close, causing the condition known as patent ductus arteriosus, which is shown in Figure 23-4. Head and upper extremities Right lung

Ductus arteriosus Aorta

Left lung

Trunk and lower extremities

Pulmonary Left artery pulmonary artery

Figure 23-4  Patent ductus arteriosus, showing by the blue color that venous blood changes into oxygenated blood at different points in the circulation. The right-hand diagram shows backflow of blood from the aorta into the pulmonary artery and then through the lungs for a second time.

270

Dynamics of the Circulation with a Persistent Patent Ductus.  During the early months of an infant’s

life, a patent ductus usually does not cause severely abnormal function. But as the child grows older, the differential between the high pressure in the aorta and the lower pressure in the pulmonary artery progressively increases, with corresponding increase in backward flow of blood from the aorta into the pulmonary artery. Also, the high aortic blood pressure usually causes the diameter of the partially open ductus to increase with time, making the condition even worse. Recirculation Through the Lungs.  In an older child with a patent ductus, one half to two thirds of the aortic blood flows backward through the ductus into the pulmonary artery, then through the lungs, and finally back into the left ventricle and aorta, passing through the lungs and left side of the heart two or more times for every one time that it passes through the systemic circulation. These people do not show cyanosis until later in life, when the heart fails or the lungs become congested. Indeed, early in life, the arterial blood is often better oxygenated than normal because of the extra times it passes through the lungs. Diminished Cardiac and Respiratory Reserve.  The major effects of patent ductus arteriosus on the patient are decreased cardiac and respiratory reserve. The left ventricle is pumping about two or more times the normal cardiac output, and the maximum that it can pump after hypertrophy of the heart has occurred is about four to seven times normal. Therefore, during exercise, the net blood flow through the remainder of the body can never increase to the levels required for strenuous activity. With even moderately strenuous exercise, the person is likely to become weak and may even faint from momentary heart failure. The high pressures in the pulmonary vessels caused by excess flow through the lungs often lead to pulmonary congestion and pulmonary edema. As a result of the excessive load on the heart, and especially because the pulmonary congestion becomes progressively more severe with age, most patients with uncorrected patent ductus die from heart disease between ages 20 and 40 years.

Heart Sounds: Machinery Murmur.  In a newborn infant with patent ductus arteriosus, occasionally no abnormal heart sounds are heard because the quantity of reverse blood flow through the ductus may be insufficient to cause a heart murmur. But as the baby grows older, reaching age 1 to 3 years, a harsh, blowing murmur begins to be heard in the pulmonary artery area of the chest, as shown in recording F, Figure 23-3. This sound is much more intense during systole when the aortic pressure is high and much less intense during diastole when the aortic pressure falls low, so that the murmur waxes and wanes with each beat of the heart, creating the socalled machinery murmur.

Chapter 23  Heart Valves and Heart Sounds; Valvular and Congenital Heart Defects

Surgical Treatment.  Surgical treatment of patent

Tetralogy of Fallot—a Right-to-Left Shunt Tetralogy of Fallot is shown in Figure 23-5; it is the most common cause of “blue baby.” Most of the blood bypasses the lungs, so the aortic blood is mainly unoxygenated venous blood. In this condition, four abnormalities of the heart occur simultaneously: 1. The aorta originates from the right ventricle rather than the left, or it overrides a hole in the septum, as shown in Figure 23-5, receiving blood from both ventricles. 2. The pulmonary artery is stenosed, so much lower than normal amounts of blood pass from the right ventricle into the lungs; instead, most of the blood passes directly into the aorta, thus bypassing the lungs. 3. Blood from the left ventricle flows either through a ventricular septal hole into the right ventricle and then into the aorta or directly into the aorta that overrides this hole. 4. Because the right side of the heart must pump large quantities of blood against the high pressure in the aorta, its musculature is highly developed, causing an enlarged right ventricle.

Abnormal Circulatory Dynamics.  It is readily apparent that the major physiological difficulty caused by Head and upper extremities

Right lung

Left lung

Surgical Treatment.  Tetralogy of Fallot can usually be treated successfully by surgery. The usual operation is to open the pulmonary stenosis, close the septal defect, and reconstruct the flow pathway into the aorta. When surgery is successful, the average life expectancy increases from only 3 to 4 years to 50 or more years. Causes of Congenital Anomalies Congenital heart disease is not uncommon, occurring in about 8 of every 1000 live births. One of the most common causes of congenital heart defects is a viral infection in the mother during the first trimester of pregnancy when the fetal heart is being formed. Defects are particularly prone to develop when the expectant mother contracts German measles; thus, obstetricians may advise termination of pregnancy if German measles occurs in the first trimester. Some congenital defects of the heart are hereditary because the same defect has been known to occur in identical twins, as well as in succeeding generations. Children of patients surgically treated for congenital heart disease have about a 10 times greater chance of having congenital heart disease than other children do. Congenital defects of the heart are also frequently associated with other ­congenital defects of the baby’s body.

Use of Extracorporeal Circulation During Cardiac Surgery Trunk and lower extremities

Figure 23-5  Tetralogy of Fallot, showing by the blue color that most of the venous blood is shunted from the right ventricle into the aorta without passing through the lungs.

It is almost impossible to repair intracardiac defects surgically while the heart is still pumping. Therefore, many types of artificial heart-lung machines have been developed to take the place of the heart and lungs during the course of operation. Such a system is called extracorporeal circulation. The system consists principally of a pump and an oxygenating device. Almost any type of pump that does not cause hemolysis of the blood seems to be suitable. Methods used for oxygenating blood include (1) bubbling oxygen through the blood and removing the bubbles from the blood before passing it back into the patient, 271

Unit IV

ductus arteriosus is extremely simple; one need only ligate the patent ductus or divide it and then close the two ends. In fact, this was one of the first successful heart surgeries ever performed.

tetralogy of Fallot is the shunting of blood past the lungs without its becoming oxygenated. As much as 75 percent of the venous blood returning to the heart passes directly from the right ventricle into the aorta without becoming oxygenated. A diagnosis of tetralogy of Fallot is usually based on (1) the fact that the baby’s skin is cyanotic (blue); (2) measurement of high systolic pressure in the right ventricle, recorded through a catheter; (3) characteristic changes in the radiological silhouette of the heart, showing an enlarged right ventricle; and (4) angiograms (x-ray pictures) showing abnormal blood flow through the interventricular septal hole and into the overriding aorta, but much less flow through the stenosed pulmonary artery.

Unit IV  The Circulation

(2) dripping the blood downward over the surfaces of plastic sheets in the presence of oxygen, (3) passing the blood over surfaces of rotating discs, or (4) passing the blood between thin membranes or through thin tubes that are permeable to oxygen and carbon dioxide. The different systems have all been fraught with difficulties, including hemolysis of the blood, development of small clots in the blood, likelihood of small bubbles of oxygen or small emboli of antifoam agent passing into the arteries of the patient, necessity for large quantities of blood to prime the entire system, failure to exchange adequate quantities of oxygen, and necessity to use ­heparin to prevent blood coagulation in the extracorporeal system. Heparin also interferes with adequate hemostasis during the surgical procedure. Yet despite these difficulties, in the hands of experts, patients can be kept alive on artificial heart-lung machines for many hours while operations are performed on the inside of the heart.

Hypertrophy of the Heart in Valvular and Congenital Heart Disease Hypertrophy of cardiac muscle is one of the most important mechanisms by which the heart adapts to increased workloads, whether these loads are caused by increased pressure against which the heart muscle must contract or by increased cardiac output that must be pumped. Some physicians believe that the increased strength of contraction of the heart muscle causes the hypertrophy; others believe that the increased metabolic rate of the muscle is the primary stimulus. Regardless of which of these is correct, one can calculate approximately how much hypertrophy will occur in each chamber of the heart by multiplying ventricular output by the pressure against which the ventricle must work, with emphasis on pressure. Thus, hypertrophy occurs in most types of valvular and congenital disease, sometimes causing heart weights as great as 800 grams instead of the normal 300 grams.

Detrimental Effects of Late Stages of Cardiac Hypertrophy.  Although the most common cause of car-

diac hypertrophy is hypertension, almost all forms of cardiac diseases including valvular and congenital disease can stimulate enlargement of the heart. “Physiological” cardiac hypertrophy is generally considered to be a compensatory response of the heart to increased workload and is usually beneficial for maintaining cardiac output in the face of abnormalities that impair

272

the heart’s effectiveness as a pump. However, extreme degrees of hypertrophy can lead to heart failure. One of the reasons for this is that the coronary vasculature typically does not increase to the same extent as the mass of cardiac muscle increases. The second reason is that fibrosis often develops in the muscle, especially in the subendocardial muscle where the coronary blood flow is poor, with fibrous tissue replacing degenerating muscle fibers. Because of the disproportionate increase in muscle mass relative to coronary blood flow, relative ischemia may develop as the cardiac muscle hypertrophies and coronary blood flow insufficiency may ensue. Anginal pain is therefore a frequent accompaniment of cardiac hypertrophy associated with valvular and congenital heart diseases. Enlargement of the heart is also associated with greater risk for developing arrhythmias, which in turn can lead to further impairment of cardiac function and sudden death because of fibrillation.

Bibliography Braunwald E, Seidman CE, Sigwart U: Contemporary evaluation and management of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Circulation 106:1312, 2002. Carabello BA: The current therapy for mitral regurgitation, J Am Coll Cardiol 52:319, 2008. Dal-Bianco JP, Khandheria BK, Mookadam F, et al: Management of asymptomatic severe aortic stenosis, J Am Coll Cardiol 52:1279, 2008. Dorn GW 2nd: The fuzzy logic of physiological cardiac hypertrophy, Hypertension 49:962, 2007. Hoffman JI, Kaplan S: The incidence of congenital heart disease, J Am Coll Cardiol 39:1890, 2002. Jenkins KJ, Correa A, Feinstein JA, et al: Noninherited risk factors and congenital cardiovascular defects: current knowledge: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young: endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Circulation 115:2995, 2007. Maron BJ: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: a systematic review, JAMA 287:1308, 2002. McDonald M, Currie BJ, Carapetis JR: Acute rheumatic fever: a chink in the chain that links the heart to the throat? Lancet Infect Dis 4:240, 2004. Nishimura RA, Holmes DR Jr: Clinical practice: hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy, N Engl J Med 350:1320, 2004. Reimold SC, Rutherford JD: Clinical practice: valvular heart disease in pregnancy, N Engl J Med 349:52, 2003. Rhodes JF, Hijazi ZM, Sommer RJ: Pathophysiology of congenital heart disease in the adult, part II. Simple obstructive lesions, Circulation 117:1228, 2008. Schoen FJ: Evolving concepts of cardiac valve dynamics: the continuum of development, functional structure, pathobiology, and tissue engineering, Circulation 118:1864, 2008. Sommer RJ, Hijazi ZM, Rhodes JF Jr: Pathophysiology of congenital heart disease in the adult: part I: shunt lesions, Circulation 117:1090, 2008. Sommer RJ, Hijazi ZM, Rhodes JF: Pathophysiology of congenital heart disease in the adult: part III: complex congenital heart disease, Circulation 117:1340, 2008.

chapter 24

Circulatory shock means ­generalized inadequate blood flow through the body, to the extent that the body tissues are damaged, especially because of too little oxygen and other nutrients delivered to the tissue cells. Even the cardiovascular system itself—the heart musculature, walls of the blood vessels, vasomotor system, and other circulatory parts— begins to deteriorate, so the shock, once begun, is prone to become progressively worse.

Physiologic Causes of Shock Circulatory Shock Caused by Decreased Cardiac Output Shock usually results from inadequate cardiac output. Therefore, any condition that reduces the cardiac output far below normal will likely lead to circulatory shock. Two types of factors can severely reduce cardiac output: 1. Cardiac abnormalities that decrease the ability of the heart to pump blood. These include especially myocardial infarction but also toxic states of the heart, severe heart valve dysfunction, heart arrhythmias, and other conditions. The circulatory shock that results from diminished cardiac pumping ability is called cardiogenic shock. This is discussed in detail in Chapter 22 where it is pointed out that as many as 70 percent of people who develop cardiogenic shock do not survive. 2. Factors that decrease venous return also decrease cardiac output because the heart cannot pump blood that does not flow into it. The most common cause of decreased venous return is diminished blood volume, but venous return can also be reduced as a result of decreased vascular tone, especially of the venous blood reservoirs, or obstruction to blood flow at some point in the circulation, especially in the venous return pathway to the heart.

Circulatory Shock That Occurs Without Diminished Cardiac Output Occasionally, cardiac output is normal or even greater than normal, yet the person is in circulatory shock. This can result from (1) excessive metabolic rate, so even a normal cardiac output is inadequate, or (2) abnormal tissue perfusion patterns, so most of the cardiac output is passing through blood vessels besides those that supply the local tissues with nutrition. The specific causes of shock are discussed later in the chapter. For the present, it is important to note that all of them lead to inadequate delivery of nutrients to critical tissues and critical organs and also cause inadequate removal of cellular waste products from the tissues.

What Happens to the Arterial Pressure in Circulatory Shock? In the minds of many physicians, the arterial pressure level is the principal measure of adequacy of circulatory function. However, the arterial pressure can often be seriously misleading. At times, a person may be in severe shock and still have an almost normal arterial pressure because of powerful nervous reflexes that keep the pressure from falling. At other times, the arterial pressure can fall to half of normal, but the person still has normal tissue perfusion and is not in shock. In most types of shock, especially shock caused by severe blood loss, the arterial blood pressure decreases at the same time the cardiac output decreases, although usually not as much.

Tissue Deterioration Is the End Result of Circulatory Shock Once circulatory shock reaches a critical state of severity, regardless of its initiating cause, the shock itself leads to more shock. That is, the inadequate blood flow causes the body tissues to begin deteriorating, including the heart and circulatory system itself. This causes an even greater decrease in cardiac output, and a vicious circle ensues, with progressively increasing circulatory shock, less adequate tissue perfusion, more shock, and so forth until death. It is with this late stage of circulatory shock that we 273

Unit IV

Circulatory Shock and Its Treatment

Unit IV  The Circulation

are especially concerned, because appropriate physiologic treatment can often reverse the rapid slide to death.

Stages of Shock Because the characteristics of circulatory shock change with different degrees of severity, shock is divided into the following three major stages: 1. A nonprogressive stage (sometimes called the compensated stage), in which the normal circulatory compensatory mechanisms eventually cause full recovery without help from outside therapy. 2. A progressive stage, in which, without therapy, the shock becomes steadily worse until death. 3. An irreversible stage, in which the shock has progressed to such an extent that all forms of known therapy are inadequate to save the person’s life, even though, for the moment, the person is still alive. Now, let us discuss the stages of circulatory shock caused by decreased blood volume, which illustrate the basic principles. Then we will consider special characteristics of shock initiated by other causes.

Shock Caused by Hypovolemia— Hemorrhagic Shock Hypovolemia means diminished blood volume. Hemorrhage is the most common cause of hypovolemic shock. Hemorrhage decreases the filling pressure of the circulation and, as a consequence, decreases venous return. As a result, the cardiac output falls below normal and shock may ensue.

Relationship of Bleeding Volume to Cardiac Output and Arterial Pressure

Cardiac output and arterial pressure (percentage of normal)

Figure 24-1 shows the approximate effects on both cardiac output and arterial pressure of removing blood from the circulatory system over a period of about 30 minutes. About 10 percent of the total blood volume can be removed with almost no effect on either arterial pressure or cardiac output, but greater blood loss usually diminArterial pressure

100

50

Cardiac output

0 0

10

20

30

40

50

Percentage of total blood removed

Figure 24-1  Effect of hemorrhage on cardiac output and arterial pressure.

274

ishes the cardiac output first and later the arterial pressure, both of which fall to zero when about 40 to 45 percent of the total blood volume has been removed.

Sympathetic Reflex Compensations in Shock— Their Special Value to Maintain Arterial Pressure.  The

decrease in arterial pressure after hemorrhage, as well as decreases in pressures in the pulmonary arteries and veins in the thorax, causes powerful sympathetic reflexes (initiated mainly by the arterial baroreceptors and other vascular stretch receptors, as explained in Chapter 18). These reflexes stimulate the sympathetic vasoconstrictor system in most tissues of the body, resulting in three important effects: (1) The arterioles constrict in most parts of the systemic circulation, thereby increasing the total peripheral resistance. (2) The veins and venous reservoirs constrict, thereby helping to maintain adequate venous return despite diminished blood volume. (3) Heart activity increases markedly, sometimes increasing the heart rate from the normal value of 72 beats/min to as high as 160 to 180 beats/min.

Value of the Sympathetic Nervous Reflexes.  In the absence of the sympathetic reflexes, only 15 to 20 percent of the blood volume can be removed over a period of 30 minutes before a person dies; this is in contrast to a 30 to 40 percent loss of blood volume that a person can sustain when the reflexes are intact. Therefore, the reflexes extend the amount of blood loss that can occur without causing death to about twice that which is possible in their absence. Greater Effect of the Sympathetic Nervous Reflexes in Maintaining Arterial Pressure than in Maintaining Cardiac Output.  Referring again to Figure 24-1, note that

the arterial pressure is maintained at or near normal levels in the hemorrhaging person longer than is the cardiac output. The reason for this is that the sympathetic reflexes are geared more for maintaining arterial pressure than for maintaining cardiac output. They increase the arterial pressure mainly by increasing the total peripheral resistance, which has no beneficial effect on cardiac output; however, the sympathetic constriction of the veins is important to keep venous return and cardiac output from falling too much, in addition to their role in maintaining arterial pressure. Especially interesting is the second plateau occurring at about 50 mm Hg in the arterial pressure curve of Figure 24-1. This results from activation of the central nervous system ischemic response, which causes extreme stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system when the brain begins to suffer from lack of oxygen or from excess buildup of carbon dioxide, as discussed in Chapter 18. This effect of the central nervous system ischemic response can be called the “last-ditch stand” of the sympathetic reflexes in their attempt to keep the arterial pressure from falling too low.

Protection of Coronary and Cerebral Blood Flow by the Reflexes.  A special value of the maintenance of normal arterial pressure even in the presence of ­decreasing

Chapter 24  Circulatory Shock and Its Treatment

Progressive and Nonprogressive Hemorrhagic Shock Figure 24-2 shows an experiment that demonstrates the effects of different degrees of sudden acute hemorrhage on the subsequent course of arterial pressure. The animals were anesthetized and bled rapidly until their arterial pressures fell to different levels. Those animals whose pressures fell immediately to no lower than 45 mm Hg (groups I, II, and III) all eventually recovered; the recovery occurred rapidly if the pressure fell only slightly (group I) but occurred slowly if it fell almost to the 45 mm Hg level (group III). When the arterial pressure fell below 45 mm Hg (groups IV, V, and VI), all the animals died, although many of them hovered between life and death for hours before the circulatory system deteriorated to the stage of death. This experiment demonstrates that the circulatory system can recover as long as the degree of hemorrhage is no greater than a certain critical amount. Crossing this critical threshold by even a few milliliters of blood loss makes the eventual difference between life and death. Thus, hemorrhage beyond a certain critical level causes shock to become progressive. That is, the shock itself causes still more shock, and the condition becomes a vicious circle that eventually leads to deterioration of the circulation and to death.

Nonprogressive Shock—Compensated Shock

Arterial pressure (percentage of control value)

If shock is not severe enough to cause its own progression, the person eventually recovers. Therefore, shock I

100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

II

III

IV V VI

0

60 120 180 Time in minutes

240

300

360

Figure 24-2  Time course of arterial pressure in dogs after different degrees of acute hemorrhage. Each curve represents average results from six dogs.

of this lesser degree is called nonprogressive shock, or compensated shock, meaning that the sympathetic reflexes and other factors compensate enough to prevent further deterioration of the circulation. The factors that cause a person to recover from moderate degrees of shock are all the negative feedback control mechanisms of the circulation that attempt to return cardiac output and arterial pressure back to normal levels. They include the following: 1. Baroreceptor reflexes, which elicit powerful sympathetic stimulation of the circulation. 2. Central nervous system ischemic response, which elicits even more powerful sympathetic stimulation throughout the body but is not activated significantly until the arterial pressure falls below 50 mm Hg. 3. Reverse stress-relaxation of the circulatory system, which causes the blood vessels to contract around the diminished blood volume so that the blood volume that is available more adequately fills the circulation. 4. Increased secretion of renin by the kidneys and formation of angiotensin II, which constricts the peripheral arteries and also causes decreased output of water and salt by the kidneys, both of which help prevent progression of shock. 5. Increased secretion by the posterior pituitary gland of vasopressin (antidiuretic hormone), which constricts the peripheral arteries and veins and greatly increases water retention by the kidneys. 6. Increased secretion by the adrenal medullae of epinephrine and norepinephrine, which constricts the ­peripheral arteries and veins and increases the heart rate. 7. Compensatory mechanisms that return the blood volume back toward normal, including absorption of large quantities of fluid from the intestinal tract, absorption of fluid into the blood capillaries from the interstitial spaces of the body, conservation of water and salt by the kidneys, and increased thirst and increased appetite for salt, which make the person drink water and eat salty foods if able. The sympathetic reflexes and increased secretion of catecholamines by the adrenal medullae provide rapid help toward bringing about recovery because they become maximally activated within 30 seconds to a few minutes after hemorrhage. The angiotensin and vasopressin mechanisms, as well as the reverse stress-relaxation that causes contraction of the blood vessels and venous reservoirs, all require 10 minutes to 1 hour to respond completely, but they aid greatly in increasing the arterial pressure or increasing the circulatory filling pressure and thereby increasing the return of blood to the heart. Finally, readjustment of blood volume by absorption of fluid from the interstitial spaces and intestinal tract, as well as oral ingestion and absorption of additional quantities of water and salt, may require from 1 to 48 hours, 275

Unit IV

cardiac output is protection of blood flow through the coronary and cerebral circulatory systems. The sympathetic stimulation does not cause significant constriction of either the cerebral or the cardiac vessels. In addition, in both vascular beds, local blood flow autoregulation is excellent, which prevents moderate decreases in arterial pressure from significantly decreasing their blood flows. Therefore, blood flow through the heart and brain is maintained essentially at normal levels as long as the arterial pressure does not fall below about 70 mm Hg, despite the fact that blood flow in some other areas of the body might be decreased to as little as one third to one quarter normal by this time because of vasoconstriction.

Unit IV  The Circulation

but recovery eventually takes place, provided the shock does not become severe enough to enter the progressive stage.

Cardiac output (L/min)

15

“Progressive Shock” Is Caused by a Vicious Circle of Cardiovascular Deterioration Figure 24-3 shows some of the positive feedbacks that further depress cardiac output in shock, thus causing the shock to become progressive. Some of the more important feedbacks are the following. Cardiac Depression.  When the arterial pressure falls low enough, coronary blood flow decreases below that required for adequate nutrition of the myocardium. This weakens the heart muscle and thereby decreases the cardiac output more. Thus, a positive feedback cycle has developed, whereby the shock becomes more and more severe. Figure 24-4 shows cardiac output curves extrapolated to the human heart from studies in experimental animals, demonstrating progressive deterioration of the heart at different times after the onset of shock. An anesthetized dog was bled until the arterial pressure fell to 30 mm Hg, and the pressure was held at this level by further bleeding or retransfusion of blood as required. Note from the second curve in the figure that there was little deterioration of the heart during the first 2 hours, but by 4 hours, the heart had deteriorated about 40 percent; then, rapidly, during the last hour of the experiment (after 4 hours of low coronary blood pressure), the heart deteriorated completely.

0 time 2 hours

10 4 hours 41/2 hours 5

43/4 hours 5 hours

0 −4

0 4 8 12 Right atrial pressure (mm Hg)

Figure 24-4  Cardiac output curves of the heart at different times after hemorrhagic shock begins. (These curves are extrapolated to the human heart from data obtained in dog experiments by Dr. J. W. Crowell.)

Thus, one of the important features of progressive shock, whether it is hemorrhagic in origin or caused in another way, is eventual progressive deterioration of the heart. In the early stages of shock, this plays very little role in the condition of the person, partly because deterioration of the heart is not severe during the first hour or so of shock, but mainly because the heart has tremendous reserve capability that normally allows it to pump 300 to 400 percent more blood than is required by the body for adequate tissue nutrition. In the latest stages of shock, however, deterioration of the heart is probably the

Decreased cardiac output

Decreased arterial pressure

Decreased systemic blood flow

Decreased cardiac nutrition

Decreased nutrition of tissues

Decreased nutrition of brain

Decreased nutrition of vascular system

Decreased vasomotor activity

Vascular dilation

Venous pooling of blood

Cardiac depression

Intravascular clotting

Tissue ischemia

Increased capillary permeability

Release of toxins

Decreased blood volume

Decreased venous return

Figure 24-3  Different types of “positive feedback” that can lead to progression of shock.

276

Chapter 24  Circulatory Shock and Its Treatment

a major role in some types of shock, especially “septic shock,” discussed later in the chapter. Generalized Cellular Deterioration.  As shock becomes severe, many signs of generalized cellular deterioration occur throughout the body. One organ especially affected is the liver, as illustrated in Figure 24-5. This occurs mainly because of lack of enough nutrients to support the normally high rate of metabolism in liver cells, but also partly because of the exposure of the liver cells to any vascular toxin or other abnormal metabolic factor occurring in shock. Among the damaging cellular effects that are known to occur in most body tissues are the following: 1. Active transport of sodium and potassium through the cell membrane is greatly diminished. As a result, sodium and chloride accumulate in the cells and potassium is lost from the cells. In addition, the cells begin to swell. 2. Mitochondrial activity in the liver cells, as well as in many other tissues of the body, becomes severely depressed. 3. Lysosomes in the cells in widespread tissue areas begin to break open, with intracellular release of hydrolases that cause further intracellular deterioration. 4. Cellular metabolism of nutrients, such as glucose, eventually becomes greatly depressed in the last stages of shock. The actions of some hormones are depressed as well, including almost 100 percent depression of the action of insulin. All these effects contribute to further deterioration of many organs of the body, including especially (1) the liver, with depression of its many metabolic and detoxification functions; (2) the lungs, with eventual development of pulmonary edema and poor ability to oxygenate the blood; and (3) the heart, thereby further depressing its contractility. Tissue Necrosis in Severe Shock—Patchy Areas of Necrosis Occur Because of Patchy Blood Flows in Different Organs.  Not all cells of the body are equally damaged by shock because some tissues have better blood supplies than others. For instance, the cells adjacent to the arterial ends of capillaries receive better nutrition than cells adjacent to the venous ends of the same capillaries. Therefore, more nutritive deficiency occurs around the venous ends of capillaries than elsewhere. For instance, Figure 24-5 shows necrosis in the center of a liver lobule, the portion of the lobule that is last to be exposed to the blood as it passes through the liver sinusoids. Similar punctate lesions occur in heart muscle, although here a definite repetitive pattern, such as occurs in the liver, cannot be demonstrated. Nevertheless, the cardiac lesions play an important role in leading to the final irreversible stage of shock. Deteriorative lesions also occur in the kidneys, especially in the epithelium of the kidney tubules, leading to kidney failure and occasionally uremic death several days later. Deterioration of the lungs 277

Unit IV

most important factor in the final lethal progression of the shock. Vasomotor Failure.  In the early stages of shock, various circulatory reflexes cause intense activity of the sympathetic nervous system. This, as discussed earlier, helps delay depression of the cardiac output and especially helps prevent decreased arterial pressure. However, there comes a point when diminished blood flow to the brain’s vasomotor center depresses the center so much that it, too, becomes progressively less active and finally totally inactive. For instance, complete circulatory arrest to the brain causes, during the first 4 to 8 minutes, the most intense of all sympathetic discharges, but by the end of 10 to 15 minutes, the vasomotor center becomes so depressed that no further evidence of sympathetic discharge can be demonstrated. Fortunately, the vasomotor center usually does not fail in the early stages of shock if the arterial pressure remains above 30 mm Hg. Blockage of Very Small Vessels—“Sludged Blood.”  In time, blockage occurs in many of the very small blood vessels in the circulatory system and this also causes the shock to progress. The initiating cause of this blockage is sluggish blood flow in the microvessels. Because tissue metabolism continues despite the low flow, large amounts of acid, both carbonic acid and lactic acid, continue to empty into the local blood vessels and greatly increase the local acidity of the blood. This acid, plus other deterioration products from the ischemic tissues, causes local blood agglutination, resulting in minute blood clots, leading to very small plugs in the small vessels. Even if the vessels do not become plugged, an increased tendency for the blood cells to stick to one another makes it more difficult for blood to flow through the microvasculature, giving rise to the term sludged blood. Increased Capillary Permeability.  After many hours of capillary hypoxia and lack of other nutrients, the permeability of the capillaries gradually increases, and large quantities of fluid begin to transude into the tissues. This decreases the blood volume even more, with a resultant further decrease in cardiac output, making the shock still more severe. Capillary hypoxia does not cause increased capillary permeability until the late stages of prolonged shock. Release of Toxins by Ischemic Tissue.  Throughout the history of research in the field of shock, it has been suggested that shock causes tissues to release toxic substances, such as histamine, serotonin, and tissue enzymes, that cause further deterioration of the circulatory system. Experimental studies have proved the significance of at least one toxin, endotoxin, in some types of shock. Cardiac Depression Caused by Endotoxin.  Endotoxin is released from the bodies of dead gram-negative bacteria in the intestines. Diminished blood flow to the intestines often causes enhanced formation and absorption of this toxic substance. The circulating toxin then causes increased cellular metabolism despite inadequate nutrition of the cells; this has a specific effect on the heart muscle, causing cardiac depression. Endotoxin can play

Unit IV  The Circulation

circulation that all the normal negative feedback systems of circulatory control acting together cannot return the cardiac output to normal. Considering once again the principles of positive feedback and vicious circle discussed in Chapter 1, one can readily understand why there is a critical cardiac output level above which a person in shock recovers and below which a person enters a vicious circle of circulatory deterioration that proceeds until death.

Irreversible Shock

also often leads to respiratory distress and death several days later—called the shock lung syndrome. Acidosis in Shock.  Most metabolic derangements that occur in shocked tissue can lead to acidosis all through the body. This results from poor delivery of oxygen to the tissues, which greatly diminishes oxidative metabolism of the foodstuffs. When this occurs, the cells obtain most of their energy by the anaerobic process of glycolysis, which leads to tremendous quantities of excess lactic acid in the blood. In addition, poor blood flow through tissues prevents normal removal of carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide reacts locally in the cells with water to form high concentrations of intracellular carbonic acid; this, in turn, reacts with various tissue chemicals to form still other intracellular acidic substances. Thus, another deteriorative effect of shock is both generalized and local tissue acidosis, leading to further progression of the shock itself.

After shock has progressed to a certain stage, transfusion or any other type of therapy becomes incapable of saving the person’s life. The person is then said to be in the irreversible stage of shock. Ironically, even in this irreversible stage, therapy can, on rare occasions, return the arterial pressure and even the cardiac output to normal or near normal for short periods, but the circulatory system nevertheless continues to deteriorate, and death ensues in another few minutes to few hours. Figure 24-6 demonstrates this effect, showing that transfusion during the irreversible stage can sometimes cause the cardiac output (as well as the arterial pressure) to return to nearly normal. However, the cardiac output soon begins to fall again, and subsequent transfusions have less and less effect. By this time, multiple deteriorative changes have occurred in the muscle cells of the heart that may not necessarily affect the heart’s immediate ability to pump blood but, over a long period, depress heart pumping enough to cause death. Beyond a certain point, so much tissue damage has occurred, so many destructive enzymes have been released into the body fluids, so much acidosis has developed, and so many other destructive factors are now in progress that even a normal cardiac output for a few minutes cannot reverse the continuing deterioration. Therefore, in severe shock, a stage is eventually reached at which the person will die even though vigorous therapy might still return the cardiac output to normal for short periods.

Positive Feedback Deterioration of Tissues in Shock and the Vicious Circle of Progressive Shock

Depletion of Cellular High-Energy Phosphate Re­ser­ves in Irreversible Shock.  The high-energy phosphate

All the factors just discussed that can lead to further progression of shock are types of positive feedback. That is, each increase in the degree of shock causes a further increase in the shock. However, positive feedback does not necessarily lead to a vicious circle. Whether a vicious circle develops depends on the intensity of the positive feedback. In mild degrees of shock, the negative feedback mechanisms of the circulation—sympathetic reflexes, reverse stress-relaxation mechanism of the blood reservoirs, absorption of fluid into the blood from the interstitial spaces, and others— can easily overcome the positive feedback influences and, therefore, cause recovery. But in severe degrees of shock, the deteriorative feedback mechanisms become more and more powerful, leading to such rapid deterioration of the 278

reserves in the tissues of the body, especially in the liver and the heart, are greatly diminished in severe degrees Hemorrhage Cardiac output (percentage of normal)

Figure 24-5  Necrosis of the central portion of a liver lobule in severe circulatory shock. (Courtesy Dr. J. W. Crowell.)

100 75

Progressive stage

50

Transfusion

25 Irreversible shock

0 0

30

60

90

120

150

Minutes

Figure 24-6  Failure of transfusion to prevent death in irreversible shock.

Chapter 24  Circulatory Shock and Its Treatment

Thus, one of the most devastating end results of deterioration in shock, and the one that is perhaps most significant for development of the final state of irreversibility, is this cellular depletion of these high-energy compounds.

Hypovolemic Shock Caused by Plasma Loss Loss of plasma from the circulatory system, even without loss of red blood cells, can sometimes be severe enough to reduce the total blood volume markedly, causing typical hypovolemic shock similar in almost all details to that caused by hemorrhage. Severe plasma loss occurs in the following conditions: 1. Intestinal obstruction may cause severely reduced plasma volume. Distention of the intestine in intestinal obstruction partly blocks venous blood flow in the intestinal walls, which increases intestinal capillary pressure. This in turn causes fluid to leak from the capillaries into the intestinal walls and also into the intestinal lumen. Because the lost fluid has high protein content, the result is reduced total blood plasma protein, as well as reduced plasma volume. 2. In almost all patients who have severe burns or other denuding conditions of the skin, so much plasma is lost through the denuded skin areas that the plasma volume becomes markedly reduced. The hypovolemic shock that results from plasma loss has almost the same characteristics as the shock caused by hemorrhage, except for one additional complicating factor: the blood viscosity increases greatly as a result of increased red blood cell concentration in the remaining blood, and this exacerbates the sluggishness of blood flow. Loss of fluid from all fluid compartments of the body is called dehydration; this, too, can reduce the blood volume and cause hypovolemic shock similar to that resulting from hemorrhage. Some of the causes of this type of shock are (1) excessive sweating, (2) fluid loss in severe diarrhea or vomiting, (3) excess loss of fluid by the kidneys, (4) inadequate intake of fluid and electrolytes, or (5) destruction of the adrenal cortices, with loss of aldosterone secretion and consequent failure of the kidneys to reabsorb sodium, chloride, and water, which occurs in the absence of the adrenocortical hormone aldosterone.

Hypovolemic Shock Caused by Trauma One of the most common causes of circulatory shock is trauma to the body. Often the shock results simply from hemorrhage caused by the trauma, but it can also occur even without hemorrhage, because extensive contusion of the body can damage the capillaries sufficiently to allow excessive loss of plasma into the tissues. This results in greatly reduced plasma volume, with resultant hypovolemic shock. Various attempts have been made to implicate toxic factors released by the traumatized tissues as one of the causes of shock after trauma. However, cross-transfusion experiments into normal animals have failed to show significant toxic elements. In summary, traumatic shock seems to result mainly from hypovolemia, although there might also be a moderate degree of concomitant neurogenic shock caused by loss of vasomotor tone, as discussed next.

Neurogenic Shock—Increased Vascular Capacity Shock occasionally results without any loss of blood volume. Instead, the vascular capacity increases so much that even the normal amount of blood becomes incapable of filling the circulatory system adequately. One of the major causes of this is sudden loss of vasomotor tone throughout the body, resulting especially in massive dilation of the veins. The resulting condition is known as neurogenic shock. The role of vascular capacity in helping to regulate circulatory function was discussed in Chapter 15, where it was pointed out that either an increase in vascular capacity or a decrease in blood volume reduces the mean systemic filling pressure, which reduces venous return to the heart. Diminished venous return caused by vascular dilation is called venous pooling of blood.

Causes of Neurogenic Shock.  Some neurogenic factors that can cause loss of vasomotor tone include the following: 1. Deep general anesthesia often depresses the vasomotor center enough to cause vasomotor paralysis, with resulting neurogenic shock. 2. Spinal anesthesia, especially when this extends all the way up the spinal cord, blocks the sympathetic nervous outflow from the nervous system and can be a potent cause of neurogenic shock. 3. Brain damage is often a cause of vasomotor paralysis. Many patients who have had brain concussion or contusion of the basal regions of the brain develop profound neurogenic shock. Also, even though brain ischemia for a few minutes almost always causes extreme vasomotor stimulation, prolonged ischemia (lasting longer than 5 to 10 minutes) can cause the opposite effect— 279

Unit IV

of shock. Essentially all the creatine phosphate has been degraded, and almost all the adenosine triphosphate has downgraded to adenosine diphosphate, adenosine monophosphate, and, eventually, adenosine. Then much of this adenosine diffuses out of the cells into the circulating blood and is converted into uric acid, a substance that cannot re-enter the cells to reconstitute the adenosine phosphate system. New adenosine can be synthesized at a rate of only about 2 percent of the normal cellular amount an hour, meaning that once the high-energy phosphate stores of the cells are depleted, they are difficult to replenish.

Unit IV  The Circulation

total inactivation of the vasomotor neurons in the brain stem, with consequent development of severe neurogenic shock.

Anaphylactic Shock and Histamine Shock Anaphylaxis is an allergic condition in which the cardiac output and arterial pressure often decrease drastically. This is discussed in Chapter 34. It results primarily from an antigen-antibody reaction that rapidly occurs after an antigen to which the person is sensitive enters the circulation. One of the principal effects is to cause the basophils in the blood and mast cells in the pericapillary tissues to release histamine or a histamine-like substance. The histamine causes (1) an increase in vascular capacity because of venous dilation, thus causing a marked decrease in venous return; (2) dilation of the arterioles, resulting in greatly reduced arterial pressure; and (3) greatly increased capillary permeability, with rapid loss of fluid and protein into the tissue spaces. The net effect is a great reduction in venous return and sometimes such serious shock that the person dies within minutes. Intravenous injection of large amounts of histamine causes “histamine shock,” which has characteristics almost identical to those of anaphylactic shock.

Septic Shock A condition that was formerly known by the popular name “blood poisoning” is now called septic shock by most clinicians. This refers to a bacterial infection widely disseminated to many areas of the body, with the infection being borne through the blood from one tissue to another and causing extensive damage. There are many varieties of septic shock because of the many types of bacterial infections that can cause it and because infection in different parts of the body produces different effects. Septic shock is extremely important to the clinician because other than cardiogenic shock, septic shock is the most frequent cause of shock-related death in the modern hospital. Some of the typical causes of septic shock include the following: 1. Peritonitis caused by spread of infection from the uterus and fallopian tubes, sometimes resulting from instrumental abortion performed under unsterile conditions. 2. Peritonitis resulting from rupture of the gastrointestinal system, sometimes caused by intestinal disease and sometimes by wounds. 3. Generalized bodily infection resulting from spread of a skin infection such as streptococcal or staphylococcal infection. 4. Generalized gangrenous infection resulting specifically from gas gangrene bacilli, spreading first through 280

peripheral tissues and finally by way of the blood to the internal organs, especially the liver. 5. Infection spreading into the blood from the kidney or urinary tract, often caused by colon bacilli.

Special Features of Septic Shock.  Because of the multiple types of septic shock, it is difficult to categorize this condition. Some features often observed are: 1. High fever. 2. Often marked vasodilation throughout the body, especially in the infected tissues. 3. High cardiac output in perhaps half of patients, caused by arteriolar dilation in the infected tissues and by high metabolic rate and vasodilation elsewhere in the body, resulting from bacterial toxin stimulation of cellular metabolism and from high body temperature. 4. Sludging of the blood, caused by red cell agglutination in response to degenerating tissues. 5. Development of micro-blood clots in widespread areas of the body, a condition called disseminated intravascular coagulation. Also, this causes the blood clotting factors to be used up, so hemorrhaging occurs in many tissues, especially in the gut wall of the intestinal tract. In early stages of septic shock, the patient usually does not have signs of circulatory collapse but only signs of the bacterial infection. As the infection becomes more severe, the circulatory system usually becomes involved either because of direct extension of the infection or secondarily as a result of toxins from the bacteria, with resultant loss of plasma into the infected tissues through deteriorating blood capillary walls. There finally comes a point at which deterioration of the circulation becomes progressive in the same way that progression occurs in all other types of shock. The end stages of septic shock are not greatly different from the end stages of hemorrhagic shock, even though the initiating factors are markedly different in the two conditions.

Physiology of Treatment in Shock Replacement Therapy Blood and Plasma Transfusion.  If a person is in

shock caused by hemorrhage, the best possible therapy is usually transfusion of whole blood. If the shock is caused by plasma loss, the best therapy is administration of plasma; when dehydration is the cause, administration of an appropriate electrolyte solution can correct the shock. Whole blood is not always available, such as under battlefield conditions. Plasma can usually substitute adequately for whole blood because it increases the blood volume and restores normal hemodynamics. Plasma cannot

Chapter 24  Circulatory Shock and Its Treatment

Dextran Solution as a Plasma Substitute.  The

principal requirement of a truly effective plasma substitute is that it remain in the circulatory system—that is, does not filter through the capillary pores into the tissue spaces. In addition, the solution must be nontoxic and must contain appropriate electrolytes to prevent derangement of the body’s extracellular fluid electrolytes on administration. To remain in the circulation, the plasma substitute must contain some substance that has a large enough molecular size to exert colloid osmotic pressure. One substance developed for this purpose is dextran, a large polysaccharide polymer of glucose. Certain bacteria secrete dextran as a by-product of their growth, and commercial dextran can be manufactured using a bacterial culture procedure. By varying the growth conditions of the bacteria, the molecular weight of the dextran can be controlled to the desired value. Dextrans of appropriate molecular size do not pass through the capillary pores and, therefore, can replace plasma proteins as colloid osmotic agents. Few toxic reactions have been observed when using purified dextran to provide colloid osmotic pressure; therefore, solutions containing this substance have proved to be a satisfactory substitute for plasma in most fluid replacement therapy.

Treatment of Shock with Sympathomimetic Drugs—Sometimes Useful, Sometimes Not A sympathomimetic drug is a drug that mimics sympathetic stimulation. These drugs include norepinephrine, epinephrine, and a large number of long-acting drugs that have the same effect as epinephrine and norepinephrine. In two types of shock, sympathomimetic drugs have proved to be especially beneficial. The first of these is neurogenic shock, in which the sympathetic nervous system is severely depressed. Administering a sympathomimetic drug takes the place of the diminished sympathetic actions and can often restore full circulatory function. The second type of shock in which sympathomimetic drugs are valuable is anaphylactic shock, in which excess histamine plays a prominent role. The sympathomimetic drugs have a vasoconstrictor effect that opposes the vasodilating effect of histamine. Therefore, epinephrine, norepinephrine, or other sympathomimetic drugs are often lifesaving.

Sympathomimetic drugs have not proved to be very valuable in hemorrhagic shock. The reason is that in this type of shock, the sympathetic nervous system is almost always maximally activated by the circulatory reflexes already; so much norepinephrine and epinephrine are already circulating in the blood that sympathomimetic drugs have essentially no additional beneficial effect.

Other Therapy Treatment by the Head-Down Position.  When

the pressure falls too low in most types of shock, especially in hemorrhagic and neurogenic shock, placing the patient with the head at least 12 inches lower than the feet helps in promoting venous return, thereby also increasing cardiac output. This head-down position is the first essential step in the treatment of many types of shock.

Oxygen Therapy.  Because the major deleterious effect of most types of shock is too little delivery of oxygen to the tissues, giving the patient oxygen to breathe can be of benefit in some instances. However, this frequently is far less beneficial than one might expect, because the problem in most types of shock is not inadequate oxygenation of the blood by the lungs but inadequate transport of the blood after it is oxygenated. Treatment with Glucocorticoids (Adrenal Cortex Hormones That Control Glucose Meta­ bolism).  Glucocorticoids are frequently given to

patients in severe shock for several reasons: (1) experiments have shown empirically that glucocorticoids frequently increase the strength of the heart in the late stages of shock; (2) glucocorticoids stabilize lysosomes in tissue cells and thereby prevent release of lysosomal enzymes into the cytoplasm of the cells, thus preventing deterioration from this source; and (3) glucocorticoids might aid in the metabolism of glucose by the severely damaged cells.

Circulatory Arrest A condition closely allied to circulatory shock is circulatory arrest, in which all blood flow stops. This occurs frequently on the surgical operating table as a result of cardiac arrest or ventricular fibrillation. Ventricular fibrillation can usually be stopped by strong electroshock of the heart, the basic principles of which are described in Chapter 13. Cardiac arrest may result from too little oxygen in the anesthetic gaseous mixture or from a depressant effect of the anesthesia itself. A normal cardiac rhythm can usually be restored by removing the anesthetic and immediately applying cardiopulmonary resuscitation procedures, while at the same time supplying the patient’s lungs with adequate quantities of ventilatory oxygen. 281

Unit IV

restore a normal hematocrit, but the human body can usually stand a decrease in hematocrit to about half of normal before serious consequences result, if cardiac output is adequate. Therefore, in emergency conditions, it is reasonable to use plasma in place of whole blood for treatment of hemorrhagic or most other types of hypovolemic shock. Sometimes plasma is unavailable. In these instances, various plasma substitutes have been developed that perform almost exactly the same hemodynamic functions as plasma. One of these is dextran solution.

Unit IV  The Circulation

Effect of Circulatory Arrest on the Brain

Bibliography

A special problem in circulatory arrest is to prevent detrimental effects in the brain as a result of the arrest. In general, more than 5 to 8 minutes of total circulatory arrest can cause at least some degree of permanent brain damage in more than half of patients. Circulatory arrest for as long as 10 to 15 minutes almost always permanently destroys significant amounts of mental power. For many years, it was taught that this detrimental effect on the brain was caused by the acute cerebral hypoxia that occurs during circulatory arrest. However, experiments have shown that if blood clots are prevented from occurring in the blood vessels of the brain, this will also prevent much of the early deterioration of the brain during circulatory arrest. For instance, in animal experiments, all the blood was removed from the animal’s blood vessels at the beginning of circulatory arrest and then replaced at the end of circulatory arrest so that no intravascular blood clotting could occur. In this experiment, the brain was usually able to withstand up to 30 minutes of circulatory arrest without permanent brain damage. Also, administration of heparin or streptokinase (to prevent blood coagulation) before cardiac arrest was shown to increase the survivability of the brain up to two to four times longer than usual. It is likely that the severe brain damage that occurs from circulatory arrest is caused mainly by permanent blockage of many small blood vessels by blood clots, thus leading to prolonged ischemia and eventual death of the neurons.

Annane D, Sebille V, Charpentier C, et al: Effect of treatment with low doses of hydrocortisone and fludrocortisone on mortality in patients with septic shock, JAMA 288:862, 2002. Burry LD, Wax RS: Role of corticosteroids in septic shock, Ann Pharmacother 38:464, 2004. Crowell JW, Smith EE: Oxygen deficit and irreversible hemorrhagic shock, Am J Physiol 206:313, 1964. Flierl MA, Rittirsch D, Huber-Lang MS, et al: Molecular events in the cardiomyopathy of sepsis, Mol Med 14:327, 2008. Galli SJ, Tsai M, Piliponsky AM: The development of allergic inflammation, Nature 454:445, 2008. Goodnough LT, Shander A: Evolution in alternatives to blood transfusion, Hematol J 4:87, 2003. Guyton AC, Jones CE, Coleman TG: Circulatory physiology: cardiac output and its regulation, Philadelphia, 1973, WB Saunders. Kemp SF, Lockey RF, Simons FE: Epinephrine: the drug of choice for anaphylaxis. A statement of the World Allergy Organization, Allergy 63:1061, 2008. Martin GS, Mannino DM, Eaton S, et al: The epidemiology of sepsis in the United States from 1979 through 2000, N Engl J Med 348:1546, 2003. Reynolds HR, Hochman J: Cardiogenic shock: current concepts and improving outcomes, Circulation 117:686, 2008. Rushing GD, Britt LD: Reperfusion injury after hemorrhage: a collective review, Ann Surg 247:929, 2008. Toh CH, Dennis M: Disseminated intravascular coagulation: old disease, new hope, BMJ 327:974, 2003. Wheeler AP: Recent developments in the diagnosis and management of severe sepsis, Chest 132:1967, 2007. Wilson M, Davis DP, Coimbra R: Diagnosis and monitoring of hemorrhagic shock during the initial resuscitation of multiple trauma patients: a review, J Emerg Med 24:413, 2003.

282

The Body Fluids and Kidneys 25. The Body Fluid Compartments: Extracellular and Intracellular Fluids; Edema 26. Urine Formation by the Kidneys: I. Glomerular Filtration, Renal Blood Flow, and Their Control 27. Urine Formation by the Kidneys: II. Tubular Reabsorption and Secretion 28. Urine Concentration and Dilution; Regulation of Extracellular Fluid Osmolarity and Sodium Concentration 29. Renal Regulation of Potassium, Calcium, Phosphate, and Magnesium; Integration of Renal Mechanisms for Control of Blood Volume and Extracellular Fluid Volume 30. Acid-Base Regulation 31. Diuretics, Kidney Diseases

Unit

V

This page intentionally left blank

chapter 25

The maintenance of a relatively constant volume and a stable composition of the body fluids is essential for homeostasis, as discussed in Chapter 1. Some of the most common and important problems in clinical medicine arise because of abnormalities in the control systems that maintain this constancy of the body fluids. In this chapter and in the following chapters on the kidneys, we discuss the overall regulation of body fluid volume, constituents of the extracellular fluid, acid-base balance, and control of fluid exchange between extracellular and intracellular compartments.

Fluid Intake and Output Are Balanced During Steady-State Conditions The relative constancy of the body fluids is remarkable because there is continuous exchange of fluid and solutes with the external environment, as well as within the different compartments of the body. For example, there is a highly variable fluid intake that must be carefully matched by equal output of water from the body to prevent body fluid volumes from increasing or decreasing.

Daily Intake of Water Water is added to the body by two major sources: (1) It is ingested in the form of liquids or water in the food, which together normally add about 2100 ml/day to the body fluids, and (2) it is synthesized in the body as a result of oxidation of carbohydrates, adding about 200 ml/day. This provides a total water intake of about 2300 ml/day (Table 25-1). Intake of water, however, is highly variable among different people and even within the same person on different days, depending on climate, habits, and level of physical activity.

Daily Loss of Body Water Insensible Water Loss.  Some of the water losses cannot be precisely regulated. For example, there is a continuous loss of water by evaporation from the

respiratory tract and diffusion through the skin, which together account for about 700 ml/day of water loss under normal conditions. This is termed insensible water loss because we are not consciously aware of it, even though it occurs continually in all living humans. The insensible water loss through the skin occurs independently of sweating and is present even in people who are born without sweat glands; the average water loss by diffusion through the skin is about 300 to 400 ml/day. This loss is minimized by the cholesterol-filled cornified layer of the skin, which provides a barrier against excessive loss by diffusion. When the cornified layer becomes denuded, as occurs with extensive burns, the rate of evaporation can increase as much as 10-fold, to 3 to 5 L/day. For this reason, burn victims must be given large amounts of fluid, usually intravenously, to balance fluid loss. Insensible water loss through the respiratory tract averages about 300 to 400 ml/day. As air enters the respiratory tract, it becomes saturated with moisture, to a vapor pressure of about 47 mm Hg, before it is expelled. Because the vapor pressure of the inspired air is usually less than 47 mm Hg, water is continuously lost through the lungs with respiration. In cold weather, the atmospheric vapor pressure decreases to nearly 0, causing an even greater loss of water from the lungs as the temperature decreases. This explains the dry feeling in the respiratory passages in cold weather.

Fluid Loss in Sweat.  The amount of water lost by sweating is highly variable, depending on physical activity and environmental temperature. The volume of sweat normally is about 100 ml/day, but in very hot weather or during heavy exercise water loss in sweat occasionally increases to 1 to 2 L/hour. This would rapidly deplete the body fluids if intake were not also increased by activating the thirst mechanism discussed in Chapter 29. Water Loss in Feces.  Only a small amount of water (100 ml/day) normally is lost in the feces. This can increase to several liters a day in people with severe diarrhea. For this reason, severe diarrhea can be life threatening if not corrected within a few days. 285

Unit V

The Body Fluid Compartments: Extracellular and Intracellular Fluids; Edema

Unit V  The Body Fluids and Kidneys

Prolonged, Heavy Exercise

Intake Fluids ingested

2100

?

200

200

2300

?

Insensible—skin

350

350

Insensible—lungs

350

650

Sweat

100

5000

Feces

100

100

Urine

1400

500

Total output

2300

6600

From metabolism Total intake Output

Water Loss by the Kidneys.  The remaining water loss from the body occurs in the urine excreted by the kidneys. There are multiple mechanisms that control the rate of urine excretion. In fact, the most important means by which the body maintains a balance between water intake and output, as well as a balance between intake and output of most electrolytes in the body, is by controlling the rates at which the kidneys excrete these substances. For example, urine volume can be as low as 0.5 L/day in a dehydrated person or as high as 20 L/day in a person who has been drinking tremendous amounts of water. This variability of intake is also true for most of the electrolytes of the body, such as sodium, chloride, and potassium. In some people, sodium intake may be as low as 20 mEq/day, whereas in others, sodium intake may be as high as 300 to 500 mEq/day. The kidneys are faced with the task of adjusting the excretion rate of water and electrolytes to match precisely the intake of these substances, as well as compensating for excessive losses of fluids and electrolytes that occur in certain disease states. In Chapters 26 through 30, we discuss the mechanisms that allow the kidneys to perform these remarkable tasks.

INTAKE

Plasma 3.0 L Capillary membrane Interstitial fluid 11.0 L

Lymphatics

Normal

OUTPUT •Kidneys •Lungs •Feces •Sweat •Skin Extracellular fluid (14.0 L)

Table 25-1  Daily Intake and Output of Water (ml/day)

Cell membrane

Intracellular fluid 28.0 L

Figure 25-1  Summary of body fluid regulation, including the major body fluid compartments and the membranes that separate these compartments. The values shown are for an average 70-kilogram person.

markedly from that of the plasma or interstitial fluid. All the transcellular fluids together constitute about 1 to 2 liters. In the average 70-kilogram adult man, the total body water is about 60 percent of the body weight, or about 42 liters. This percentage can change, depending on age, gender, and degree of obesity. As a person grows older, the percentage of total body weight that is fluid gradually decreases. This is due in part to the fact that aging is usually associated with an increased percentage of the body weight being fat, which decreases the percentage of water in the body. Because women normally have more body fat than men, their total body water averages about 50 percent of the body weight. In premature and newborn babies, the total body water ranges from 70 to 75 percent of body weight. Therefore, when discussing the “average” body fluid compartments, we should realize that variations exist, depending on age, gender, and percentage of body fat.

Intracellular Fluid Compartment

Body Fluid Compartments The total body fluid is distributed mainly between two compartments: the extracellular fluid and the intracellular fluid (Figure 25-1). The extracellular fluid is divided into the interstitial fluid and the blood plasma. There is another small compartment of fluid that is referred to as transcellular fluid. This compartment includes fluid in the synovial, peritoneal, pericardial, and intraocular spaces, as well as the cerebrospinal fluid; it is usually considered to be a specialized type of extracellular fluid, although in some cases its composition may differ 286

About 28 of the 42 liters of fluid in the body are inside the 100 trillion cells and are collectively called the intracellular fluid. Thus, the intracellular fluid constitutes about 40 percent of the total body weight in an “average” person. The fluid of each cell contains its individual mixture of different constituents, but the concentrations of these substances are similar from one cell to another. In fact, the composition of cell fluids is remarkably similar even in different animals, ranging from the most primitive microorganisms to humans. For this reason, the intracellular fluid of all the different cells together is considered to be one large fluid compartment.

Chapter 25  The Body Fluid Compartments: Extracellular and Intracellular Fluids; Edema

Extracellular Fluid Compartment

Blood Volume Blood contains both extracellular fluid (the fluid in plasma) and intracellular fluid (the fluid in the red blood cells). However, blood is considered to be a separate fluid compartment because it is contained in a chamber of its own, the circulatory system. The blood volume is especially important in the control of cardiovascular dynamics. The average blood volume of adults is about 7 ­percent of body weight, or about 5 liters. About 60 percent of the blood is plasma and 40 percent is red blood cells, but these percentages can vary considerably in different people, depending on gender, weight, and other factors.

Hematocrit (Packed Red Cell Volume).  The hematocrit is the fraction of the blood composed of red blood cells, as determined by centrifuging blood in a “hematocrit tube” until the cells become tightly packed in the bottom of the tube. It is impossible to completely pack the red cells together; therefore, about 3 to 4 percent of the plasma remains entrapped among the cells, and the true hematocrit is only about 96 percent of the measured hematocrit. In men, the measured hematocrit is normally about 0.40, and in women, it is about 0.36. In severe anemia, the hematocrit may fall as low as 0.10, a value that is barely sufficient to sustain life. Conversely, there are some conditions in which there is excessive production of red blood cells, resulting in polycythemia. In these conditions, the hematocrit can rise to 0.65.

Constituents of Extracellular and Intracellular Fluids Comparisons of the composition of the extracellular fluid, including the plasma and interstitial fluid, and the intracellular fluid are shown in Figures 25-2 and 25-3 and in Table 25-2.

Because the plasma and interstitial fluid are separated only by highly permeable capillary membranes, their ionic composition is similar. The most important difference between these two compartments is the higher concentration of protein in the plasma; because the capillaries have a low permeability to the plasma proteins, only small amounts of proteins are leaked into the interstitial spaces in most tissues. Because of the Donnan effect, the concentration of positively charged ions (cations) is slightly greater (≈2 percent) in the plasma than in the interstitial fluid. The plasma proteins have a net negative charge and, therefore, tend to bind cations, such as sodium and potassium ions, thus holding extra amounts of these cations in the plasma along with the plasma proteins. Conversely, negatively charged ions (anions) tend to have a slightly higher concentration in the interstitial fluid compared with the plasma, because the negative charges of the plasma proteins repel the negatively charged anions. For practical purposes, however, the concentration of ions in the interstitial fluid and in the plasma is considered to be about equal. Referring again to Figure 25-2, one can see that the extracellular fluid, including the plasma and the interstitial fluid, contains large amounts of sodium and chloride ions, reasonably large amounts of bicarbonate ions, but only small quantities of potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphate, and organic acid ions. The composition of extracellular fluid is carefully regulated by various mechanisms, but especially by the kidneys, as discussed later. This allows the cells to remain continually bathed in a fluid that contains the proper concentration of electrolytes and nutrients for optimal cell function.

Intracellular Fluid Constituents The intracellular fluid is separated from the extracellular fluid by a cell membrane that is highly permeable to water but not to most of the electrolytes in the body. In contrast to the extracellular fluid, the intracellular fluid contains only small quantities of sodium and chloride ions and almost no calcium ions. Instead, it contains large amounts of potassium and phosphate ions plus moderate quantities of magnesium and sulfate ions, all of which have low concentrations in the extracellular fluid. Also, cells contain large amounts of protein, almost four times as much as in the plasma.

Measurement of Fluid Volumes in the Different Body Fluid Compartments—the Indicator-Dilution Principle The volume of a fluid compartment in the body can be measured by placing an indicator substance in the compartment, allowing it to disperse evenly throughout the compartment’s fluid, and then analyzing the extent to which the 287

Unit V

All the fluids outside the cells are collectively called the extracellular fluid. Together these fluids account for about 20 percent of the body weight, or about 14 liters in a normal 70-kilogram man. The two largest compartments of the extracellular fluid are the interstitial fluid, which makes up more than three fourths (11 liters) of the extracellular fluid, and the plasma, which makes up almost one fourth of the extracellular fluid, or about 3 liters. The plasma is the noncellular part of the blood; it exchanges substances continuously with the interstitial fluid through the pores of the capillary membranes. These pores are highly permeable to almost all solutes in the extracellular fluid except the proteins. Therefore, the extracellular fluids are constantly mixing, so the plasma and interstitial fluids have about the same composition except for proteins, which have a higher concentration in the plasma.

Ionic Composition of Plasma and Interstitial Fluid Is Similar

Unit V  The Body Fluids and Kidneys

EXTRACELLULAR

Anions

100

Ca++ K+

Cl−

Mg++

50

100

Protein

Na+

HCO3−

0

PO –––4 and organic anions

mEq/L

50

Phospholipids – 280 mg/dl

Cholesterol – 150 mg/dl

INTRACELLULAR

Cations

150

Neutral fat – 125 mg/dl Glucose – 100 mg/dl

150

Urea – 15 mg/dl Lactic acid – 10 mg/dl Uric acid – 3 mg/dl Creatinine – 1.5 mg/dl Bilirubin – 0.5 mg/dl Bile salts – trace

Figure 25-2  Major cations and anions of the intracellular and extracellular fluids. The concentrations of Ca++ and Mg++ represent the sum of these two ions. The concentrations shown represent the total of free ions and complexed ions.

Figure 25-3  Nonelectrolytes of the plasma. Table 25-2  Osmolar Substances in Extracellular and Intracellular Fluids

Na+ K

Plasma (mOsm/L H2O)

Interstitial (mOsm/L H2O)

142

139

Intracellular (mOsm/L H2O) 14

4.2

4.0

Ca

1.3

1.2

0

Mg++

0.8

0.7

20

+ ++

Cl−

108

HCO3

24

108

4

28.3

10 11

HPO , H2PO4

2

2

SO4=

0.5

0.5

= 4

140

1

Phosphocreatine

45

Carnosine

14

Amino acids

2

2

8

Creatine

0.2

0.2

9

Lactate

1.2

1.2

1.5

Adenosine triphosphate

5

Hexose monophosphate

3.7

Glucose

5.6

5.6

Protein

1.2

0.2

4

Urea

4

4

4

Others

4.8

3.9

Total mOsm/L

301.8

300.8

301.2

Corrected osmolar activity (mOsm/L)

282.0

281.0

281.0

Total osmotic pressure at 37 °C (mm Hg)

288

5443

5423

10

5423

Chapter 25  The Body Fluid Compartments: Extracellular and Intracellular Fluids; Edema

Indicator Mass A = Volume A x Concentration A

Determination of Volumes of Specific Body Fluid Compartments

Indicator Mass B = Volume B x Concentration B Volume B = Indicator Mass B / Concentration B

Figure 25-4  Indicator-dilution method for measuring fluid volumes.

substance becomes diluted. Figure 25-4 shows this “indicator-dilution” method of measuring the volume of a fluid compartment. This method is based on the conservation of mass principle, which means that the total mass of a substance after dispersion in the fluid compartment will be the same as the total mass injected into the compartment. In the example shown in Figure 25-4, a small amount of dye or other substance contained in the syringe is injected into a chamber and the substance is allowed to disperse throughout the chamber until it becomes mixed in equal concentrations in all areas. Then a sample of fluid containing the dispersed substance is removed and the concentration is analyzed chemically, photoelectrically, or by other means. If none of the substance leaks out of the compartment, the total mass of substance in the compartment (Volume B × Concentration B) will equal the total mass of the substance injected (Volume A × Concentration A). By simple rearrangement of the equation, one can calculate the unknown volume of chamber B as Volume B =

Volume A  Concentration A Concentration B

Note that all one needs to know for this calculation is (1) the total amount of substance injected into the chamber (the numerator of the equation) and (2) the concentration of the fluid in the chamber after the substance has been dispersed (the denominator). For example, if 1 milliliter of a solution containing 10 mg/ml of dye is dispersed into chamber B and the final concentration in the chamber is 0.01 milligram for each milliliter of fluid, the unknown volume of the chamber can be calculated as follows: Volume B =

1 ml  10 mg/ml 0.01 mg/ml

= 1000 ml

Measurement of Total Body Water.  Radioactive water (tritium, 3H2O) or heavy water (deuterium, 2H2O) can be used to measure total body water. These forms of water mix with the total body water within a few hours after being injected into the blood, and the dilution principle can be used to calculate total body water (Table 25-3). Another substance that has been used to measure total body water is antipyrine, which is very lipid soluble and can rapidly penetrate cell membranes and distribute itself uniformly throughout the intracellular and extracellular compartments. Measurement of Extracellular Fluid Volume.  The volume of extracellular fluid can be estimated using any of several substances that disperse in the plasma and interstitial fluid but do not readily permeate the cell membrane. They include radioactive sodium, radioactive chloride, radioactive iothalamate, thiosulfate ion, and inulin. When any one of these substances is injected into the blood, it usually disperses almost completely throughout the extracellular fluid within 30 to 60 minutes. Some of these substances, however, such as radioactive sodium, may diffuse into the cells in small amounts. Therefore, one frequently speaks of the sodium space or the inulin space, instead of calling the measurement the true extracellular fluid volume. Table 25-3  Measurement of Body Fluid Volumes Volume

Indicators

Total body water

3

Extracellular fluid

22

Intracellular fluid

(Calculated as total body water − Extracellular fluid volume)

Plasma volume

125

Blood volume

51

Interstitial fluid

(Calculated as extracellular fluid volume − Plasma volume)

H2O, 2H2O, antipyrine

Na, 125I-iothalamate, thiosulfate, inulin

I-albumin, Evans blue dye (T-1824)

Cr-labeled red blood cells, or calculated as blood volume = Plasma volume/(1 − Hematocrit)

289

Unit V

Indicator Mass A = Indicator Mass B

This method can be used to measure the volume of virtually any compartment in the body as long as (1) the indicator disperses evenly throughout the compartment, (2) the indicator disperses only in the compartment that is being measured, and (3) the indicator is not metabolized or excreted. Several substances can be used to measure the volume of each of the different body fluids.

Unit V  The Body Fluids and Kidneys

Calculation of Intracellular Volume.  The intra­

cellular volume cannot be measured directly. However, it can be calculated as Intracellular volume = Total body water – Extracellular volume

Measurement of Plasma Volume.  To measure plasma volume, a substance must be used that does not readily penetrate capillary membranes but remains in the vascular system after injection. One of the most commonly used substances for measuring plasma volume is serum albumin labeled with radioactive iodine (125I-albumin). Also, dyes that avidly bind to the plasma proteins, such as Evans blue dye (also called T-1824), can be used to measure plasma volume. Calculation of Interstitial Fluid Volume.  Intersti­ tial fluid volume cannot be measured directly, but it can be calculated as Interstitial fluid volume = Extracellular fluid volume – Plasma volume

Measurement of Blood Volume.  If one measures

plasma volume using the methods described earlier, blood volume can also be calculated if one knows the hematocrit (the fraction of the total blood volume composed of cells), using the following equation: Total blood volume =

Plasma volume 1 – Hematocrit

For example, if plasma volume is 3 liters and hematocrit is 0.40, total blood volume would be calculated as 3 liters = 5 liters 1 - 0.4

Another way to measure blood volume is to inject into the circulation red blood cells that have been labeled with radioactive material. After these mix in the circulation, the radioactivity of a mixed blood ­sample can be measured and the total blood volume can be ­calculated using the indicator-dilution principle. A ­substance ­frequently used to label the red blood cells is ­radioactive chromium (51Cr), which binds tightly with the red blood cells.

Regulation of Fluid Exchange and Osmotic Equilibrium Between Intracellular and Extracellular Fluid A frequent problem in treating seriously ill patients is maintaining adequate fluids in one or both of the intracellular and extracellular compartments. As discussed in Chapter 16 and later in this chapter, the relative amounts 290

of extracellular fluid distributed between the plasma and interstitial spaces are determined mainly by the balance of hydrostatic and colloid osmotic forces across the capillary membranes. The distribution of fluid between intracellular and extracellular compartments, in contrast, is determined mainly by the osmotic effect of the smaller solutes—­ especially sodium, chloride, and other electrolytes— acting across the cell membrane. The reason for this is that the cell membranes are highly permeable to water but relatively impermeable to even small ions such as sodium and chloride. Therefore, water moves across the cell membrane rapidly and the intracellular fluid remains isotonic with the extracellular fluid. In the next section, we discuss the interrelations between intracellular and extracellular fluid volumes and the osmotic factors that can cause shifts of fluid between these two compartments.

Basic Principles of Osmosis and Osmotic Pressure The basic principles of osmosis and osmotic pressure were presented in Chapter 4. Therefore, we review here only the most important aspects of these principles as they apply to volume regulation. Osmosis is the net diffusion of water across a selectively permeable membrane from a region of high water concentration to one that has a lower water concentration. When a solute is added to pure water, this reduces the concentration of water in the mixture. Thus, the higher the solute concentration in a solution, the lower the water concentration. Further, water diffuses from a region of low solute concentration (high water concentration) to one with a high solute concentration (low water concentration). Because cell membranes are relatively impermeable to most solutes but highly permeable to water (i.e., selectively permeable), whenever there is a higher concentration of solute on one side of the cell membrane, water diffuses across the membrane toward the region of higher solute concentration. Thus, if a solute such as sodium chloride is added to the extracellular fluid, water rapidly diffuses from the cells through the cell membranes into the extracellular fluid until the water concentration on both sides of the membrane becomes equal. Conversely, if a solute such as sodium chloride is removed from the extracellular fluid, water diffuses from the extracellular fluid through the cell membranes and into the cells. The rate of diffusion of water is called the rate of osmosis.

Relation Between Moles and Osmoles.  Because the water concentration of a solution depends on the number of solute particles in the solution, a concentration term is necessary to describe the total concentration of solute particles, regardless of their exact composition. The total number of particles in a solution is measured in osmoles. One osmole (osm) is equal to 1 mole (mol) (6.02 × 1023)

Chapter 25  The Body Fluid Compartments: Extracellular and Intracellular Fluids; Edema

Osmolality and Osmolarity.   The osmolal con­ centrat­ion of a solution is called osmolality when the con­centration is expressed as osmoles per kilogram of water; it is called osmolarity when it is expressed as osmoles per liter of solution. In dilute solutions such as the body fluids, these two terms can be used almost synonymously because the differences are small. In most cases, it is easier to express body fluid quantities in liters of fluid rather than in kilograms of water. Therefore, most of the calculations used clinically and the calculations expressed in the next several chapters are based on osmolarities rather than osmolalities.

sometimes neglected in determining the osmolarity and osmotic pressures of physiologic solutions.

Osmolarity of the Body Fluids.  Turning back to Table 25-2, note the approximate osmolarity of the various osmotically active substances in plasma, interstitial fluid, and intracellular fluid. Note that about 80 percent of the total osmolarity of the interstitial fluid and plasma is due to sodium and chloride ions, whereas for intracellular fluid, almost half the osmolarity is due to potassium ions and the remainder is divided among many other intracellular substances. As shown in Table 25-2, the total osmolarity of each of the three compartments is about 300 mOsm/L, with the plasma being about 1 mOsm/L greater than that of the interstitial and intracellular fluids. The slight difference between plasma and interstitial fluid is caused by the osmotic effects of the plasma proteins, which maintain about 20 mm Hg greater pressure in the capillaries than in the surrounding interstitial spaces, as discussed in Chapter 16.

Corrected Osmolar Activity of the Body Fluids.

At the bottom of Table 25-2 are shown corrected osmolar activities of plasma, interstitial fluid, and intracellular fluid. The reason for these corrections is that cations and anions exert interionic attraction, which can cause a slight decrease in the osmotic “activity” of the dissolved substance.

Calculation of the Osmolarity and Osmotic Pressure of a Solution.  Using van’t Hoff ’s law, one can calculate the potential osmotic pressure of a solution, assuming that the cell membrane is impermeable to the solute.

Osmotic Equilibrium Is Maintained Between Intracellular and Extracellular Fluids

For example, the osmotic pressure of a 0.9 percent sodium chloride solution is calculated as follows: A 0.9 percent solution means that there is 0.9 gram of sodium chloride per 100 milliliters of solution, or 9 g/L. Because the molecular weight of sodium chloride is 58.5 g/mol, the molarity of the solution is 9 g/L divided by 58.5 g/ mol, or about 0.154 mol/L. Because each molecule of sodium chloride is equal to 2 osmoles, the osmolarity of the solution is 0.154 × 2, or 0.308 osm/L. Therefore, the osmolarity of this solution is 308 mOsm/L. The potential osmotic pressure of this solution would therefore be 308 mOsm/L × 19.3 mm Hg/mOsm/L, or 5944 mm Hg. This calculation is only an approximation because sodium and chloride ions do not behave entirely independently in solution because of interionic attraction between them. One can correct for these deviations from the predictions of van’t Hoff ’s law by using a correction factor called the osmotic coefficient. For sodium chloride, the osmotic coefficient is about 0.93. Therefore, the actual osmolarity of a 0.9 percent sodium chloride solution is 308 × 0.93, or about 286 mOsm/L. For practical reasons, the osmotic coefficients of different solutes are

Large osmotic pressures can develop across the cell membrane with relatively small changes in the concentrations of solutes in the extracellular fluid. As discussed earlier, for each milliosmole concentration gradient of an impermeant solute (one that will not permeate the cell membrane), about 19.3 mm Hg osmotic pressure is exerted across the cell membrane. If the cell membrane is exposed to pure water and the osmolarity of intracellular fluid is 282 mOsm/L, the potential osmotic pressure that can develop across the cell membrane is more than 5400 mm Hg. This demonstrates the large force that can move water across the cell membrane when the intracellular and extracellular fluids are not in osmotic equilibrium. As a result of these forces, relatively small changes in the concentration of impermeant solutes in the extracellular fluid can cause large changes in cell volume.

Isotonic, Hypotonic, and Hypertonic Fluids.  The effects of different concentrations of impermeant solutes in the extracellular fluid on cell volume are shown in Figure 25-5. If a cell is placed in a solution of impermeant solutes having an osmolarity of 282 mOsm/L, the cells 291

Unit V

of solute particles. Therefore, a solution containing 1 mole of glucose in each liter has a concentration of 1 osm/L. If a molecule dissociates into two ions (giving two particles), such as sodium chloride ionizing to give chloride and sodium ions, then a solution containing 1 mol/L will have an osmolar concentration of 2 osm/L. Likewise, a solution that contains 1 mole of a molecule that dissociates into three ions, such as sodium sulfate (Na2SO4), will contain 3 osm/L. Thus, the term osmole refers to the number of osmotically active particles in a solution rather than to the molar concentration. In general, the osmole is too large a unit for expressing osmotic activity of solutes in the body fluids. The term milliosmole (mOsm), which equals 1/1000 osmole, is commonly used.

Unit V  The Body Fluids and Kidneys

A

280 mOsm/L C

B

ISOTONIC No change

The terms hyperosmotic and hypo-osmotic refer to solutions that have a higher or lower osmolarity, respectively, compared with the normal extracellular fluid, without regard for whether the solute permeates the cell membrane. Highly permeating substances, such as urea, can cause transient shifts in fluid volume between the intracellular and extracellular fluids, but given enough time, the concentrations of these substances eventually become equal in the two compartments and have little effect on intracellular volume under steady-state conditions.

Osmotic Equilibrium Between Intracellular and Extracellular Fluids Is Rapidly Attained.  The 200 mOsm/L

360 mOsm/L

HYPOTONIC Cell swells

HYPERTONIC Cell shrinks

Figure 25-5  Effects of isotonic (A), hypertonic (B), and hypotonic (C) solutions on cell volume.

will not shrink or swell because the water concentration in the intracellular and extracellular fluids is equal and the solutes cannot enter or leave the cell. Such a solution is said to be isotonic because it neither shrinks nor swells the cells. Examples of isotonic solutions include a 0.9 percent solution of sodium chloride or a 5 percent glucose solution. These solutions are important in clinical medicine because they can be infused into the blood without the danger of upsetting osmotic equilibrium between the intracellular and extracellular fluids. If a cell is placed into a hypotonic solution that has a lower concentration of impermeant solutes (or=35 weeks gestation, Neonatology 94:63, 2008. Fevery J: Bilirubin in clinical practice: a review, Liver Int 28:592, 2008. Friedman SL: Hepatic stellate cells: protean, multifunctional, and enigmatic cells of the liver, Physiol Rev 88:125, 2008. Lefebvre P, Cariou B, Lien F, et al: Role of bile acids and bile acid receptors in metabolic regulation, Physiol Rev 89:147, 2009. Maisels MJ, McDonagh AF: Phototherapy for neonatal jaundice, N Engl J Med 358:920, 2008. Marchesini G, Moscatiello S, Di Domizio S, Forlani G: Obesity-associated liver disease, J Clin Endocrinol Metab 93(11 Suppl 1):S74, 2008. Postic C, Girard J: Contribution of de novo fatty acid synthesis to hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance: lessons from genetically engineered mice, J Clin Invest 118:829, 2008. Preiss D, Sattar N: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: an overview of prevalence, diagnosis, pathogenesis and treatment considerations, Clin Sci (Lond) 115:141, 2008. Reichen J: The role of the sinusoidal endothelium in liver function, News Physiol Sci 14:117, 1999. Roma MG, Crocenzi FA, Sánchez Pozzi EA: Hepatocellular transport in acquired cholestasis: new insights into functional, regulatory and therapeutic aspects, Clin Sci (Lond) 114:567, 2008. Ryter SW, Alam J, Choi AM: Heme oxygenase-1/carbon monoxide: from basic science to therapeutic applications, Physiol Rev 86(2):583–650, 2006. Sanyal AJ, Bosch J, Blei A, Arroyo V: Portal hypertension and its complications, Gastroenterology 134:1715, 2008. Sozio M, Crabb DW: Alcohol and lipid metabolism, Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 295:E10, 2008.

chapter 71

Energy Intake and Output Are Balanced Under Steady-State Conditions Intake of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins provides energy that can be used to perform various body functions or stored for later use. Stability of body weight and composition over long periods requires that a person’s energy intake and energy expenditure be balanced. When a person is overfed and energy intake persistently exceeds expenditure, most of the excess energy is stored as fat, and body weight increases; conversely, loss of body mass and starvation occur when energy intake is insufficient to meet the body’s metabolic needs. Because different foods contain different proportions of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins, appropriate balances must also be maintained among these constituents so that all segments of the body’s metabolic systems can be supplied with the requisite materials. This chapter discusses the mechanisms by which food intake is regulated in accordance with the body’s metabolic needs and some of the problems of maintaining ­balance among the different types of foods. Dietary Balances Energy Available in Foods The energy liberated from each gram of carbohydrate as it is oxidized to carbon dioxide and water is 4.1 Calories (1 Calorie equals 1 kilocalorie), and that liberated from fat is 9.3 Calories. The energy liberated from metabolism of the average dietary protein as each gram is oxidized to carbon dioxide, water, and urea is 4.35 Calories. Also, these substances vary in the average percentages that are absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract: about 98 percent of carbohydrate, 95 percent of fat, and 92 percent of protein. Therefore, the average physiologically available energy in each gram of these three foodstuffs is as follows: Carbohydrate Fat Protein

Calories 4 9 4

Average Americans receive about 15 percent of their energy from protein, 40 percent from fat, and 45 percent from carbohydrate. In most non-Western countries, the quantity of energy derived from carbohydrates far exceeds that derived from both proteins and fats. Indeed, in some parts of the world where meat is scarce, the energy received from fats and proteins combined may be no greater than 15 to 20 percent. Table 71-1 gives the compositions of selected foods, demonstrating especially the high proportions of fat and protein in meat products and the high proportion of carbohydrate in most vegetable and grain products. Fat is deceptive in the diet because it usually exists as nearly 100 percent fat, whereas both proteins and carbohydrates are mixed in watery media so that each of these normally represents less than 25 percent of the weight. Therefore, the fat of one pat of butter mixed with an entire helping of potato sometimes contains as much energy as the potato itself. Average Daily Requirement for Protein Is 30 to 50 Grams.  Twenty to 30 grams of the body proteins are degraded and used to produce other body chemicals daily. Therefore, all cells must continue to form new proteins to take the place of those that are being destroyed, and a supply of protein is necessary in the diet for this purpose. An average person can maintain normal stores of protein, provided the daily intake is above 30 to 50 grams. Some proteins have inadequate quantities of certain essential amino acids and therefore cannot be used to replace the degraded proteins. Such proteins are called partial proteins, and when they are present in large quantities in the diet, the daily protein requirement is much greater than normal. In general, proteins derived from animal foodstuffs are more complete than are proteins derived from vegetable and grain sources. For example, the protein of corn has almost no tryptophan, one of the essential amino acids. Therefore, individuals in low-income countries who consume cornmeal as the principal source of protein sometimes develop the protein-deficiency syndrome called kwashiorkor, which consists of failure to grow, lethargy, depressed mentality, and edema caused by low plasma protein concentration. Carbohydrates and Fats Act as “Protein Sparers.”  When the diet contains an abundance of carbohydrates and fats, almost all the body’s energy is derived from these two ­substances, and little is derived from proteins. Therefore, both carbohydrates and fats are said to be protein sparers. Conversely, in starvation, after the carbohydrates and fats have been depleted, the body’s protein

843

U n i t X III

Dietary Balances; Regulation of Feeding; Obesity and Starvation; Vitamins and Minerals

Unit XIII  Metabolism and Temperature Regulation Table 71-1  Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrate Content of Different Foods Food

% Protein

% Fat

% Carbohydrate

Apples

0.3

0.4

14.9

64

Asparagus

2.2

0.2

3.9

26

Bacon, fat   broiled

6.2 25.0

76.0 55.0

0.7 1.0

712 599

Beef (average)

17.5

22.0

1.0

268

Beets, fresh

1.6

0.1

9.6

46

Bread, white

9.0

3.6

49.8

268

Butter

0.6

81.0

0.4

733

Cabbage

1.4

0.2

5.3

29

Carrots

1.2

0.3

9.3

45

Cashew nuts

19.6

47.2

26.4

609

Cheese, cheddar, American

23.9

32.3

1.7

393

Chicken, total edible

21.6

2.7

1.0

111

5.5

52.9

18.0

570

Corn (maize)

10.0

4.3

73.4

372

Haddock

17.2

0.3

0.5

72

Lamb, leg (average)

18.0

17.5

1.0

230

Milk, fresh whole

3.5

3.9

4.9

69

Molasses

0.0

0.0

60.0

240

Chocolate

Oatmeal, dry, uncooked

Fuel Value per 100 Grams (Calories)

14.2

7.4

68.2

396

Oranges

0.9

0.2

11.2

50

Peanuts

26.9

44.2

23.6

600

Peas, fresh

6.7

0.4

17.7

101

Pork, ham

15.2

31.0

1.0

340

Potatoes

2.0

0.1

19.1

85

Spinach

2.3

0.3

3.2

25

Strawberries

0.8

0.6

8.1

41

Tomatoes

1.0

0.3

4.0

23

Tuna, canned

24.2

10.8

0.5

194

Walnuts, English

15.0

64.4

15.6

702

stores are consumed rapidly for energy, sometimes at rates approaching several hundred grams per day rather than the normal daily rate of 30 to 50 grams. Methods for Determining Metabolic Utilization of Carbohydrates, Fats, and Proteins “Respiratory Quotient” Is the Ratio of CO2 Production to O2 Utilization and Can Be Used to Estimate Fat and Carbohydrate Utilization.  When carbohydrates are metabolized with oxygen, exactly one carbon dioxide molecule is formed for each molecule of oxygen consumed. This ratio of carbon dioxide output to oxygen usage is called the respiratory quotient, so the respiratory quotient for carbohydrates is 1.0. When fat is oxidized in the body’s cells, an average of 70 carbon dioxide molecules are formed for each 100 molecules of oxygen consumed. The respiratory quotient for the

844

metabolism of fat therefore averages 0.70. When proteins are oxidized by the cells, the average respiratory quotient is 0.80. The reason that the respiratory quotients for fats and ­proteins are lower than those for carbohydrates is that a portion of the oxygen metabolized with these foods is required to combine with the excess hydrogen atoms present in their molecules, so less carbon dioxide is formed in relation to the oxygen used. Now let us see how one can make use of the respiratory quotient to determine the relative utilization of different foods by the body. First, it will be recalled from Chapter 39 that the output of carbon dioxide by the lungs divided by the uptake of oxygen during the same period is called the respiratory exchange ratio. Over a period of 1 hour or more, the respiratory exchange ratio exactly equals the average respiratory quotient of the metabolic reactions throughout the

Chapter 71  Dietary Balances; Regulation of Feeding; Obesity and Starvation; Vitamins and Minerals

1. Immediately after a meal, almost all the food that is metabolized is carbohydrates, so the respiratory quotient at that time approaches 1.0. 2. About 8 to 10 hours after a meal, the body has already used up most of its readily available carbohydrates, and the respiratory quotient approaches that for fat metabolism, about 0.70. 3. In untreated diabetes mellitus, little carbohydrate can be used by the body’s cells under any conditions because insulin is required for this. Therefore, when diabetes is severe, most of the time the respiratory quotient remains near that for fat metabolism, 0.70. Nitrogen Excretion Can Be Used to Assess Protein Metabolism.  The average protein contains about 16 percent nitrogen. During metabolism of the protein, about 90 percent of this nitrogen is excreted in the urine in the form of urea, uric acid, creatinine, and other nitrogen products. The remaining 10 percent is excreted in the feces. Therefore, the rate of protein breakdown in the body can be estimated by measuring the amount of nitrogen in the urine, then adding 10 percent for the nitrogen excreted in the feces, and multiplying by 6.25 (i.e., 100/16) to determine the total amount of protein metabolism in grams per day. Thus, excretion of 8 grams of nitrogen in the urine each day means that there has been about 55 grams of protein breakdown. If the daily intake of protein is less than the daily breakdown of protein, the person is said to have a negative nitrogen balance, which means that his or her body stores of protein are decreasing daily.

Regulation of Food Intake and Energy Storage Stability of the body’s total mass and composition over long periods requires that energy intake match energy expenditure. As discussed in Chapter 72, only about 27 percent of the energy ingested normally reaches the functional systems of the cells, and much of this is eventually converted to heat, which is generated as a result of protein metabolism, muscle activity, and activities of the various organs and tissues of the body. Excess energy intake is stored mainly as fat, whereas a deficit of energy intake causes loss of total body mass until energy expenditure eventually equals energy intake or death occurs.

Although there is considerable variability in the amount of energy storage (i.e., fat mass) in different individuals, maintenance of an adequate energy supply is necessary for survival. Therefore, the body is endowed with powerful physiologic control systems that help maintain adequate energy intake. Deficits of energy stores, for example, rapidly activate multiple mechanisms that cause hunger and drive a person to seek food. In athletes and laborers, energy expenditure for the high level of muscle activity may be as high as 6000 to 7000 Calories per day, compared with only about 2000 Calories per day for sedentary individuals. Thus, a large energy expenditure associated with physical work usually stimulates equally large increases in caloric intake. What are the physiological mechanisms that sense changes in energy balance and influence the quest for food? Maintenance of adequate energy supply in the body is so critical that there are multiple short-term and longterm control systems that regulate not only food intake but also energy expenditure and energy stores. In the next few sections we describe some of these control systems and their operation in physiological conditions, as well as in obesity and starvation.

Neural Centers Regulate Food Intake The sensation of hunger is associated with a craving for food and several other physiological effects, such as rhythmical contractions of the stomach and restlessness, which cause the person to seek an adequate food supply. A person’s appetite is a desire for food, often of a particular type, and is useful in helping to choose the quality of the food to be eaten. If the quest for food is successful, the feeling of satiety occurs. Each of these feelings is influenced by environmental and cultural factors, as well as by physiologic controls that influence specific centers of the brain, especially the hypothalamus.

The Hypothalamus Contains Hunger and Satiety Centers.  Several neuronal centers of the hypothalamus

participate in the control of food intake. The lateral nuclei of the hypothalamus serve as a feeding center, and stimulation of this area causes an animal to eat voraciously (hyperphagia). Conversely, destruction of the lateral hypothalamus causes lack of desire for food and progressive inanition, a condition characterized by marked weight loss, muscle weakness, and decreased metabolism. The lateral hypothalamic feeding center operates by ­exciting the motor drives to search for food. The ventromedial nuclei of the hypothalamus serve as the satiety center. This center is believed to give a sense of nutritional satisfaction that inhibits the feeding center. Electrical stimulation of this region can cause complete satiety, and even in the presence of highly appetizing food, the animal refuses to eat (aphagia). Conversely, destruction of the ventromedial nuclei causes voracious and continued eating until the animal becomes extremely obese, sometimes weighing as much as four times normal. 845

U n i t X III

body. If a person has a respiratory quotient of 1.0, he or she is metabolizing almost entirely carbohydrates, because the respiratory quotients for both fat and protein metabolism are considerably less than 1.0. Likewise, when the respiratory quotient is about 0.70, the body is metabolizing almost entirely fats, to the exclusion of carbohydrates and proteins. And, finally, if we ignore the normally small amount of protein metabolism, respiratory quotients between 0.70 and 1.0 describe the approximate ratios of carbohydrate to fat metabolism. To be more exact, one can first determine the protein utilization by measuring nitrogen excretion as discussed in the next section. Then, using the appropriate mathematical formula, one can calculate almost exactly the utilization of the three foodstuffs. Some of the important findings from studies of respiratory quotients are the following:

Unit XIII  Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

The paraventricular, dorsomedial, and arcuate nuclei of the hypothalamus also play a major role in regulating food intake. For example, lesions of the paraventricular nuclei often cause excessive eating, whereas lesions of the dorsomedial nuclei usually depress eating behavior. As discussed later, the arcuate nuclei are the sites in the hypothalamus where multiple hormones released from the gastrointestinal tract and adipose tissue converge to regulate food intake, as well as energy expenditure. There is much chemical cross-talk among the neurons on the hypothalamus, and together, these centers coordinate the processes that control eating behavior and the perception of satiety. These hypothalamic nuclei also influence the secretion of several hormones that are important in regulating energy balance and metabolism, including those from the thyroid and adrenal glands, as well as the pancreatic islet cells. The hypothalamus receives neural signals from the gastrointestinal tract that provide sensory information about stomach filling; chemical signals from nutrients in the blood (glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids) that signify satiety; signals from gastrointestinal hormones; signals from hormones released by adipose tissue; and signals from the cerebral cortex (sight, smell, and taste) that influence feeding behavior. Some of these inputs to the hypothalamus are shown in Figure 71-1. The hypothalamic feeding and satiety centers have a high density of receptors for neurotransmitters and hormones that influence feeding behavior. A few of the many substances that have been shown to alter appetite and feeding behavior in experimental studies are listed in Table 71-2 and are generally categorized as (1) orexigenic substances that stimulate feeding or (2) anorexigenic substances that inhibit feeding.

Neurons and Neurotransmitters in the Hypo­ thalamus That Stimulate or Inhibit Feeding.  There

are two distinct types of neurons in the arcuate nuclei of the hypothalamus that are especially important as controllers of both appetite and energy expenditure (Figure 71-2): (1) pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons that produce α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) together with cocaine- and amphetamine-related transcript (CART) and (2) neurons that produce the orexigenic substances neuropeptide Y (NPY) and agouti-related protein (AGRP). Activation of the POMC neurons decreases food intake and increases energy expenditure, whereas activation of the NPY-AGRP neurons increases food intake and reduces energy expenditure. As discussed later, these neurons appear to be the major targets for several hormones that regulate appetite, including leptin, insulin, cholecystokinin (CCK), and ghrelin. In fact, the neurons of the arcuate nuclei appear to be a site of convergence of many of the nervous and peripheral signals that regulate energy stores. The POMC neurons release α-MSH, which then acts on melanocortin receptors found especially in neurons of the paraventricular nuclei. Although there are at least 846

Hypothalamus

-

+ -

Vagus nerve

Stomach

Fat

Ghrelin

Leptin

Insulin

PYY Large intestine

Pancreas

CCK Small intestine

Figure 71-1  Feedback mechanisms for control of food intake. Stretch receptors in the stomach activate sensory afferent pathways in the vagus nerve and inhibit food intake. Peptide YY (PYY), cholecystokinin (CCK), and insulin are gastrointestinal hormones that are released by the ingestion of food and suppress further feeding. Ghrelin is released by the stomach, especially during fasting, and stimulates appetite. Leptin is a hormone produced in increasing amounts by fat cells as they increase in size; it inhibits food intake.

five subtypes of melanocortin receptors (MCR), MCR-3 and MCR-4 are especially important in regulating food intake and energy balance. Activation of these receptors reduces food intake while increasing energy expenditure. Conversely, inhibition of MCR-3 and MCR-4 greatly increases food intake and decreases energy expenditure. The effect of MCR activation to increase energy expenditure appears to be mediated, at least in part, by activation of neuronal pathways that project from the paraventricular nuclei to the nucleus tractus solitarius and stimulate sympathetic nervous system activity. The hypothalamic melanocortin system plays a powerful role in regulating energy stores of the body, and defective signaling of the melanocortin pathway is associated with extreme obesity. In fact, mutations of MCR-4 represent the most common known monogenic (single-gene) cause of human obesity, and some studies suggest that MCR-4 mutations may account for as much as 5 to 6 percent of early-onset severe obesity in children. In contrast, excessive activation of the melanocortin system reduces appetite. Some studies suggest that this activation may

Chapter 71  Dietary Balances; Regulation of Feeding; Obesity and Starvation; Vitamins and Minerals

Decrease Feeding (Anorexigenic)

Increase Feeding (Orexigenic)

α-Melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH)

Neuropeptide Y (NPY)

Leptin

Agouti-related protein (AGRP)

Serotonin

Melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH)

Norepinephrine

Orexins A and B

Corticotropin-releasing hormone

Endorphins

Insulin

Galanin (GAL)

Cholecystokinin (CCK)

Amino acids (glutamate and γ-aminobutyric acid)

Glucagon-like peptide (GLP)

Cortisol

Cocaine- and amphetamineregulated transcript (CART)

Ghrelin

Peptide YY (PYY)

Endocannabinoids

Neural Centers That Influence the Mechanical Process of Feeding.  Another aspect of feeding is the

mechanical act of the feeding process itself. If the brain is sectioned below the hypothalamus but above the mesencephalon, the animal can still perform the basic mechanical features of the feeding process. It can salivate, lick its lips,

Food intake Neurons of PVN

Neuron MCR-4

Y1r

α-MSH Food intake

Food intake

AGRP/ NPY

Y1r MCR-3

Third ventricle

α-MSH −

Ghrelin

Arcuate nucleus

POMC/ CART

LepR +

To nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) •Sympathetic activity •Energy expenditure

LepR

MCR-3

+ Insulin, leptin, CCK

Figure 71-2  Control of energy balance by two types of neurons of the arcuate nuclei: (1) pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons that release α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) and cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART), decreasing food intake and increasing energy expenditure and (2) neurons that produce agouti-related protein (AGRP) and neuropeptide Y (NPY), increasing food intake and reducing energy expenditure. α-MSH released by POMC neurons stimulates melanocortin receptors (MCR-3 and MCR-4) in the paraventricular nuclei (PVN), which then activate neuronal pathways that project to the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) and increase sympathetic activity and energy expenditure. AGRP acts as an antagonist of MCR-4. Insulin, leptin, and cholecystokinin (CCK) are hormones that inhibit AGRP-NPY neurons and stimulate adjacent POMC-CART neurons, thereby reducing food intake. Ghrelin, a hormone secreted from the stomach, activates AGRP-NPY neurons and stimulates food intake. LepR, leptin receptor; Y1R, neuropeptide Y1 receptor. (Redrawn from Barsh GS, Schwartz MW: Nature Rev Genetics 3:589, 2002.)

847

U n i t X III

play a role in causing the anorexia associated with severe infections, cancer tumors, or uremia. AGRP released from the orexigenic neurons of the hypothalamus is a natural antagonist of MCR-3 and MCR-4 and probably increases feeding by inhibiting the effects of α-MSH to stimulate melanocortin receptors (see Figure 71-2). Although the role of AGRP in normal physiologic control of food intake is unclear, excessive formation of AGRP in mice and humans, due to gene mutations, is associated with increased food intake and obesity. NPY is also released from orexigenic neurons of the arcuate nuclei. When energy stores of the body are low, orexigenic neurons are activated to release NPY, which stimulates appetite. At the same time, firing of the POMC neurons is reduced, thereby decreasing the activity of the melanocortin pathway and further stimulating appetite.

Table 71-2  Neurotransmitters and Hormones That Influence Feeding and Satiety Centers in the Hypothalamus

Unit XIII  Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

chew food, and swallow. Therefore, the actual mechanics of feeding are controlled by centers in the brain stem. The function of the other centers in feeding, then, is to control the quantity of food intake and to excite these centers of feeding mechanics to activity. Neural centers higher than the hypothalamus also play important roles in the control of feeding, particularly in the control of appetite. These centers include the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex, which are closely coupled with the hypothalamus. It will be recalled from the discussion of the sense of smell in Chapter 53 that portions of the amygdala are a major part of the olfactory nervous system. Destructive lesions in the amygdala have demonstrated that some of its areas increase feeding, whereas others inhibit feeding. In addition, stimulation of some areas of the amygdala elicits the mechanical act of feeding. An important effect of destruction of the amygdala on both sides of the brain is a “psychic blindness” in the choice of foods. In other words, the animal (and presumably the human being as well) loses or at least partially loses the appetite control that determines the type and quality of food it eats.

Factors That Regulate Quantity of Food Intake Regulation of the quantity of food intake can be divided into short-term regulation, which is concerned primarily with preventing overeating at each meal, and long-term regulation, which is concerned primarily with ­maintenance of normal quantities of energy stores in the body.

Short-Term Regulation of Food Intake When a person is driven by hunger to eat voraciously and rapidly, what turns off the eating when he or she has eaten enough? There has not been enough time for changes in the body’s energy stores to occur, and it takes hours for enough nutritional factors to be absorbed into the blood to cause the necessary inhibition of eating. Yet it is important that the person not overeat and that he or she eat an amount of food that approximates nutritional needs. The following are several types of rapid feedback signals that are important for these purposes. Gastrointestinal Filling Inhibits Feeding.  When the gastrointestinal tract becomes distended, especially the stomach and the duodenum, stretch inhibitory signals are transmitted mainly by way of the vagi to suppress the feeding center, thereby reducing the desire for food (see Figure 71-1). Gastrointestinal Hormonal Factors Suppress Feeding.  Cholecystokinin (CCK), released mainly in response to fat and proteins entering the duodenum, enters the blood and acts as a hormone to influence several gastrointestinal functions such as gallbladder contraction, gastric emptying, gut motility, and gastric acid secretion as discussed in Chapters 62, 63, and 64. However, CCK also activates receptors on local sensory nerves in the duodenum, sending messages to the brain via the vagus nerve that contribute to satiation and meal cessation. The effect 848

of CCK is short-lived and chronic administration of CCK by itself has no major effect on body weight. Therefore, CCK functions mainly to prevent overeating during meals but may not play a major role in the frequency of meals or the total energy consumed. Peptide YY (PYY) is secreted from the entire gastrointestinal tract, but especially from the ileum and colon. Food intake stimulates release of PYY, with blood concentrations rising to peak levels 1 to 2 hours after ingesting a meal. These peak levels of PYY are influenced by the number of calories ingested and the composition of the food, with higher levels of PYY observed after meals with a high fat content. Although injections of PYY into mice have been shown to decrease food intake for 12 hours or more, the importance of this gastrointestinal hormone in regulating appetite in humans is still unclear. For reasons that are not entirely understood, the presence of food in the intestines stimulates them to secrete glucagon-like peptide (GLP), which in turn enhances glucose-dependent insulin production and secretion from the pancreas. Glucagon-like peptide and insulin both tend to suppress appetite. Thus, eating a meal stimulates the release of several gastrointestinal hormones that may induce satiety and reduce further intake of food (see Figure 71-1). Ghrelin—a Gastrointestinal Hormone—Increases Feeding.  Ghrelin is a hormone released mainly by the oxyntic cells of the stomach but also, to a much less extent, by the intestine. Blood levels of ghrelin rise during fasting, peak just before eating, and then fall rapidly after a meal, suggesting a possible role in stimulating feeding. Also, administration of ghrelin increases food intake in experimental animals, further supporting the possibility that it may be an orexigenic hormone. However, its physiologic role in humans is still uncertain. Oral Receptors Meter Food Intake.  When an animal with an esophageal fistula is fed large quantities of food, even though this food is immediately lost again to the exterior, the degree of hunger is decreased after a reasonable quantity of food has passed through the mouth. This effect occurs despite the fact that the gastrointestinal tract does not become the least bit filled. Therefore, it is postulated that various “oral factors” related to feeding, such as chewing, salivation, swallowing, and tasting, “meter” the food as it passes through the mouth, and after a certain amount has passed, the hypothalamic feeding center becomes inhibited. However, the inhibition caused by this metering mechanism is considerably less intense and of shorter duration, usually lasting for only 20 to 40 minutes, than is the inhibition caused by gastrointestinal filling.

Intermediate and Long-Term Regulation of Food Intake An animal that has been starved for a long time and is then presented with unlimited food eats a far greater quantity than does an animal that has been on a regular diet. Conversely, an animal that has been force-fed for several

Chapter 71  Dietary Balances; Regulation of Feeding; Obesity and Starvation; Vitamins and Minerals

of POMC neurons, causing release of α-MSH and activation of melanocortin receptors; (3) increased production in the hypothalamus of substances, such as corticotropinreleasing hormone, that decrease food intake; (4) increased sympathetic nerve activity (through neural projections from the hypothalamus to the vasomotor centers), which increases metabolic rate and energy expenditure; and (5) decreased insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells, which decreases energy storage. Thus, leptin is an important means by which the adipose tissue signals the brain that enough energy has been stored and that intake of food is no longer necessary. In mice or humans with mutations that render their fat cells unable to produce leptin or mutations that cause defective leptin receptors in the hypothalamus, marked hyperphagia and morbid obesity occur. In most obese humans, however, there does not appear to be a deficiency of leptin production because plasma leptin levels increase in proportion with increasing adiposity. Therefore, some physiologists believe that obesity may be associated with leptin resistance; that is, leptin receptors or postreceptor signaling pathways normally activated by leptin may be defective in obese people, who continue to eat despite very high levels of leptin. Another explanation for the failure of leptin to prevent increasing adiposity in obese individuals is that there are many redundant systems that control feeding behavior, as well as social and cultural factors that can cause continued excess food intake even in the presence of high levels of leptin. Summary of Long-Term Regulation.  Even though our information on the different feedback factors in longterm feeding regulation is imprecise, we can make the following general statement: When the energy stores of the body fall below normal, the feeding centers of the hypothalamus and other areas of the brain become highly active, and the person exhibits increased hunger, as well as searching for food. Conversely, when the energy stores (mainly the fat stores) are already abundant, the person usually loses the sensation of hunger and develops a state of satiety.

Importance of Having Both Long- and Short-Term Regulatory Systems for Feeding The long-term regulatory system for feeding, which includes all the nutritional energy feedback mechanisms, helps maintain constant stores of nutrients in the tissues, preventing them from becoming too low or too high. The short-term regulatory stimuli serve two other purposes. First, they tend to make the person eat smaller quantities at each eating session, thus allowing food to pass through the gastrointestinal tract at a steadier pace so that its digestive and absorptive mechanisms can work at optimal rates rather than becoming periodically overburdened. Second, they help prevent the person from eating amounts at each meal that would be too much for the metabolic storage systems once all the food has been absorbed. 849

U n i t X III

weeks eats very little when allowed to eat according to its own desires. Thus, the feeding control mechanism of the body is geared to the nutritional status of the body. Effect of Blood Concentrations of Glucose, Amino Acids, and Lipids on Hunger and Feeding.  It has long been known that a decrease in blood glucose concentration causes hunger, which has led to the so-called glucostatic theory of hunger and feeding regulation. Similar studies have demonstrated the same effect for blood amino acid concentration and blood concentration of breakdown products of lipids such as the keto acids and some fatty acids, leading to the aminostatic and lipostatic theories of regulation. That is, when the availability of any of the three major types of food decreases, the desire for feeding is increased, eventually returning the blood metabolite concentrations back toward normal. Neurophysiological studies of function in specific areas of the brain also support the glucostatic, ­aminostatic, and lipostatic theories, by the following observations: (1) A rise in blood glucose level increases the rate of firing of glucoreceptor neurons in the satiety center in the ventromedial and paraventricular nuclei of the hypothalamus. (2) The same increase in blood glucose level simultaneously decreases the firing of glucosensitive neurons in the hunger center of the lateral hypothalamus. In  addition, some amino acids and lipid substances affect the rates of firing of these same neurons or other closely ­associated neurons. Temperature Regulation and Food Intake.  When an animal is exposed to cold, it tends to increase feeding; when it is exposed to heat, it tends to decrease its caloric intake. This is caused by interaction within the hypothalamus between the temperature-regulating system (see Chapter 73) and the food intake–regulating system. This is important because increased food intake in a cold animal (1) increases its metabolic rate and (2) provides increased fat for insulation, both of which tend to correct the cold state. Feedback Signals from Adipose Tissue Regulate Food Intake.  Most of the stored energy in the body consists of fat, the amount of which can vary considerably in different individuals. What regulates this energy reserve, and why is there so much variability among individuals? Studies in humans and in experimental animals indicate that the hypothalamus senses energy storage through the actions of leptin, a peptide hormone released from adipocytes. When the amount of adipose tissue increases (signaling excess energy storage), the adipocytes produce increased amounts of leptin, which is released into the blood. Leptin then circulates to the brain, where it moves across the blood-brain barrier by facilitated diffusion and occupies leptin receptors at multiple sites in the hypothalamus, especially the POMC neurons of the arcuate nuclei and neurons of the paraventricular nuclei. Stimulation of leptin receptors in these hypothalamic nuclei initiates multiple actions that decrease fat storage, including (1) decreased production in the hypothalamus of appetite stimulators, such as NPY and AGRP; (2) ­activation

Unit XIII  Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

Obesity Obesity can be defined as an excess of body fat. A surrogate marker for body fat content is the body mass index (BMI), which is calculated as: BMI = Weight in kg/Height in m2 In clinical terms, a BMI between 25 and 29.9 kg/m2 is called overweight, and a BMI greater than 30 kg/m2 is called obese. BMI is not a direct estimate of adiposity and does not take into account the fact that some individuals have a high BMI due to a large muscle mass. A better way to define obesity is to actually measure the percentage of total body fat. Obesity is usually defined as 25 percent or greater total body fat in men and 35 percent or greater in women. Although percentage of body fat can be estimated with various methods, such as measuring skin-fold thickness, bioelectrical impedance, or underwater weighing, these methods are rarely used in clinical practice, where BMI is commonly used to assess obesity. The prevalence of obesity in children and adults in the United States and in many other industrialized countries is rapidly increasing, rising by more than 30 percent over the past decade. Approximately 65 percent of adults in the United States are overweight, and nearly 33 percent of adults are obese. Obesity Results from Greater Energy Intake Than Energy Expenditure.  When greater quantities of energy (in the form of food) enter the body than are expended, the body weight increases, and most of the excess energy is stored as fat. Therefore, excessive adiposity (obesity) is caused by energy intake in excess of energy output. For each 9.3 Calories of excess energy that enter the body, ­approximately 1 gram of fat is stored. Fat is stored mainly in adipocytes in subcutaneous tissue and in the intraperitoneal cavity, although the liver and other tissues of the body often accumulate significant amounts of lipids in obese persons. The metabolic processes involved in fat storage were discussed in Chapter 68. It was previously believed that the number of adipocytes could increase substantially only during infancy and childhood and that excess energy intake in children led to hyperplastic obesity, associated with increased numbers of adipocytes and only small increases in adipocyte size. In contrast, obesity developing in adults was thought to increase only adipocyte size, resulting in hypertrophic obesity. Recent studies, however, have shown that new adipocytes can differentiate from fibroblast-like preadipocytes at any period of life and that the development of obesity in adults is accompanied by increased numbers, as well as increased size, of adipocytes. An extremely obese person may have as many as four times as many adipocytes, each containing twice as much lipid, as a lean person. Once a person has become obese and a stable weight is obtained, energy intake once again equals energy output. For a person to lose weight, energy intake must be less than energy expenditure. Decreased Physical Activity and Abnormal Feeding Regulation as Causes of Obesity The causes of obesity are complex. Although genes play an important role in programming the powerful physiological

850

mechanisms that regulate food intake and energy metabolism, lifestyle and environmental factors may play the dominant role in many obese people. The rapid increase in the prevalence of obesity in the past 20 to 30 years emphasizes the important role of lifestyle and environmental factors because genetic changes could not have occurred so rapidly. Sedentary Lifestyle Is a Major Cause of Obesity.  Regular physical activity and physical training are known to increase muscle mass and decrease body fat mass, whereas inadequate physical activity is typically associated with decreased muscle mass and increased adiposity. For example, studies have shown a close association between sedentary behaviors, such as prolonged television watching, and obesity. About 25 to 30 percent of the energy used each day by the average person goes into muscular activity, and in a laborer, as much as 60 to 70 percent is used in this way. In obese people, increased physical activity usually increases energy expenditure more than food intake, resulting in significant weight loss. Even a single episode of strenuous exercise may increase basal energy expenditure for several hours after the physical activity is stopped. Because muscular activity is by far the most important means by which energy is expended in the body, increased physical activity is often an effective means of reducing fat stores. Abnormal Feeding Behavior Is an Important Cause of Obesity.  Although powerful physiological mechanisms regulate food intake, there are also important environmental and psychological factors that can cause abnormal feeding behavior, excessive energy intake, and obesity. Environmental, Social, and Psychological Factors Contri­ bute to Abnormal Feeding.  As discussed previously, the importance of environmental factors is evident from the rapid increase in the prevalence of obesity in most industrialized countries, which has coincided with an abundance of highenergy foods (especially fatty foods) and sedentary lifestyles. Psychological factors may contribute to obesity in some people. For example, people often gain large amounts of weight during or after stressful situations, such as the death of a parent, a severe illness, or even mental depression. It seems that eating can be a means of releasing tension. Childhood Overnutrition as a Possible Cause of Obesity.  One factor that may contribute to obesity is the prevalent idea that healthy eating habits require three meals a day and that each meal must be filling. Many young children are forced into this habit by overly solicitous parents, and the children continue to practice it throughout life. The rate of formation of new fat cells is especially rapid in the first few years of life, and the greater the rate of fat storage, the greater the number of fat cells. The number of fat cells in obese children is often as much as three times that in normal children. Therefore, it has been suggested that overnutrition of children—especially in infancy and, to a lesser extent, during the later years of childhood—can lead to a lifetime of obesity. Neurogenic Abnormalities as a Cause of Obesity.  We previously pointed out that lesions in the ventromedial nuclei of the hypothalamus cause an animal to eat excessively and become obese. People with hypophysial tumors that encroach on the hypothalamus often develop progressive obesity, demonstrating that obesity in human beings, too, can result from damage to the hypothalamus. Although hypothalamic damage is almost never found in obese people, it is possible that the functional ­organization

Chapter 71  Dietary Balances; Regulation of Feeding; Obesity and Starvation; Vitamins and Minerals

Treatment of Obesity Treatment of obesity depends on decreasing energy input below energy expenditure and creating a sustained negative energy balance until the desired weight loss is achieved. In other words, this means either reducing energy intake or increasing energy expenditure. The current National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines recommend a decrease in caloric intake of 500 kilocalories per day for overweight and moderately obese persons (BMI > 25 but < 35 kg/m2) to achieve a weight loss of approximately 1 pound each week. A more aggressive energy deficit of 500 to 1000 kilocalories per day is recommended for persons with BMIs greater than 35 kg/m2. Typically, such an energy deficit, if it can be achieved and sustained, will cause a weight loss of about 1 to 2 pounds per week, or about a 10 percent weight loss after 6 months. For most people attempting to lose weight, increasing physical activity is also an important component of successful long-term weight loss. To decrease energy intake, most reducing diets are designed to contain large quantities of “bulk,” which is generally made up of non-nutritive cellulose substances. This bulk distends the stomach and thereby partially appeases hunger. In experimental animals, such a procedure simply makes the animal increase its food intake even more, but human beings can often fool themselves because their food intake is ­sometimes

controlled as much by habit as by hunger. As pointed out later in connection with starvation, it is important to prevent vitamin deficiencies during the dieting period. Various drugs for decreasing the degree of hunger have been used in the treatment of obesity. The most widely used drugs are amphetamines (or amphetamine derivatives), which directly inhibit the feeding centers in the brain. One drug for treating obesity is sibutramine, a sympathomimetic that reduces food intake and increases energy expenditure. The danger in using these drugs is that they simultaneously overexcite the sympathetic nervous system and raise the blood pressure. Also, a person soon adapts to the drug, so weight reduction is usually no greater than 5 to 10 percent. Another group of drugs works by altering lipid metabolism. For example, orlistat, a lipase inhibitor, reduces the intestinal digestion of fat. This causes a portion of the ingested fat to be lost in the feces and therefore reduces energy absorption. However, fecal fat loss may cause unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects, as well as loss of fat-soluble vitamins in the feces. Significant weight loss can be achieved in many obese persons with increased physical activity. The more exercise one gets, the greater the daily energy expenditure and the more rapidly the obesity disappears. Therefore, forced exercise is often an essential part of treatment. The current clinical guidelines for the treatment of obesity recommend that the first step be lifestyle modifications that include increased physical activity combined with a reduction in caloric intake. For morbidly obese patients with BMIs greater than 40, or for patients with BMIs greater than 35 and conditions such as hypertension or type II diabetes that predispose them to other serious diseases, various surgical procedures can be used to decrease the fat mass of the body or to decrease the amount of food that can be eaten at each meal. Two of the most common surgical procedures used in the United States to treat morbid obesity are gastric bypass surgery and gastric banding surgery. Gastric bypass surgery involves construction of a small pouch in the proximal part of the stomach that is then connected to the jejunum with a section of small bowel of varying lengths; the pouch is separated from the remaining part of the stomach with staples. Gastric banding surgery involves placing an adjustable band around the stomach near its upper end; this also creates a small stomach pouch that restricts the amount of food that can be eaten at each meal. Although these surgical procedures generally produce substantial weight loss in obese patients, they are major operations, and their long-term effects on overall health and mortality are still uncertain.

Inanition, Anorexia, and Cachexia Inanition is the opposite of obesity and is characterized by extreme weight loss. It can be caused by inadequate availability of food or by pathophysiological conditions that greatly decrease the desire for food, including psychogenic disturbances, hypothalamic abnormalities, and factors released from peripheral tissues. In many instances, especially in those with serious diseases such as cancer, the reduced desire for food may be associated with increased energy ­expenditure, causing serious weight loss. Anorexia can be defined as a reduction in food intake caused primarily by diminished appetite, as opposed to the

851

U n i t X III

of the hypothalamic or other neurogenic feeding centers in obese individuals is different from that in nonobese persons. Also, there may be abnormalities of neurotransmitters or receptor mechanisms in the neural pathways of the hypothalamus that control feeding. In support of this theory, an obese person who has reduced to normal weight by strict dietary measures usually develops intense hunger that is demonstrably far greater than that of a normal person. This indicates that the “set-point” of an obese person’s feeding control system is at a much higher level of nutrient storage than that of a nonobese person. Studies in experimental animals also indicate that when food intake is restricted in obese animals, there are marked neurotransmitter changes in the hypothalamus that greatly increase hunger and oppose weight loss. Some of these changes include increased formation of orexigenic neurotransmitters such as NPY and decreased formation of anorexic substances such as leptin and α-MSH. Genetic Factors as a Cause of Obesity.  Obesity definitely runs in families. Yet it has been difficult to determine the precise role of genetics in contributing to obesity because family members generally share many of the same eating habits and physical activity patterns. Current evidence, however, suggests that 20 to 25 percent of cases of obesity may be caused by genetic factors. Genes can contribute to obesity by causing abnormalities of (1) one or more of the pathways that regulate the feeding centers and (2) energy expenditure and fat storage. Three of the monogenic (single-gene) causes of obesity are (1) mutations of MCR-4, the most common monogenic form of obesity discovered thus far; (2) congenital leptin deficiency caused by mutations of the leptin gene, which are very rare; and (3) mutations of the leptin receptor, also very rare. All these monogenic forms of obesity account for only a very small percentage of obesity. It is likely that many gene variations interact with environmental factors to influence the amount and distribution of body fat.

literal definition of “not eating.” This definition emphasizes the important role of central neural mechanisms in the pathophysiology of anorexia in diseases such as cancer, when other common problems, such as pain and nausea, may also cause a person to consume less food. Anorexia nervosa is an abnormal psychic state in which a person loses all desire for food and even becomes nauseated by food; as a result, severe inanition occurs. Cachexia is a metabolic disorder of increased energy expenditure leading to weight loss greater than that caused by reduced food intake alone. Anorexia and cachexia often occur together in many types of cancer or in the “wasting syndrome” observed in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and chronic inflammatory disorders. Almost all types of cancer cause both anorexia and cachexia, and more than half of cancer patients develop anorexia-cachexia syndrome during the course of their disease. Central neural and peripheral factors are believed to contribute to cancer-induced anorexia and cachexia. Several inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor-a, interleukin-6, interleukin-1b, and a proteolysis-inducing factor, have been shown to cause anorexia and cachexia. Most of these inflammatory cytokines appear to mediate anorexia by activation of the melanocortin system in the hypothalamus. The precise mechanisms by which cytokines or tumor products interact with the melanocortin pathway to decrease food intake are still unclear, but blockade of the hypothalamic melanocortin receptors appears to almost completely prevent their anorexic and cachectic effects in experimental animals. Additional research, however, is necessary to better understand the pathophysiological mechanisms of anorexia and cachexia in cancer patients and to develop therapeutic agents to improve their nutritional status and survival.

Starvation Depletion of Food Stores in the Body Tissues During Starvation.  Even though the tissues preferentially use carbohydrate for energy over both fat and protein, the quantity of carbohydrate normally stored in the entire body is only a few hundred grams (mainly glycogen in the liver and muscles), and it can supply the energy required for body functions for perhaps half a day. Therefore, except for the first few hours of starvation, the major effects are progressive depletion of tissue fat and protein. Because fat is the prime source of energy (100 times as much fat energy is stored in the normal person as carbohydrate energy), the rate of fat depletion continues unabated, as shown in Figure 71-3, until most of the fat stores in the body are gone. Protein undergoes three phases of depletion: rapid depletion at first, then greatly slowed depletion, and, finally, rapid depletion again shortly before death. The initial rapid depletion is caused by the use of easily mobilized protein for direct metabolism or for conversion to glucose and then metabolism of glucose mainly by the brain. After the readily mobilized protein stores have been depleted during the early phase of starvation, the remaining protein is not so easily removed. At this time, the rate of gluconeogenesis decreases to onethird to one-fifth its previous rate, and the rate of depletion of protein becomes greatly decreased. The lessened availability of glucose then initiates a series of events that leads to excessive fat utilization and conversion of some of the fat

852

Quantities of stored foodstuffs (kilograms)

Unit XIII  Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

12 Protein

10 8

Fat

6 4 2 Carbohydrate

0 0

1

2

3 4 5 6 Weeks of starvation

7

8

Figure 71-3  Effect of starvation on the food stores of the body. breakdown products to ketone bodies, producing the state of ketosis, which is discussed in Chapter 68. The ketone bodies, like glucose, can cross the blood-brain barrier and can be used by the brain cells for energy. Therefore, about two thirds of the brain’s energy is now derived from these ketone bodies, principally from beta-hydroxybutyrate. This sequence of events leads to at least partial preservation of the protein stores of the body. There finally comes a time when the fat stores are almost depleted, and the only remaining source of energy is protein. At that time, the protein stores once again enter a stage of rapid depletion. Because proteins are also essential for the maintenance of cellular function, death ordinarily ensues when the proteins of the body have been depleted to about half their normal level. Vitamin Deficiencies in Starvation.  The stores of some of the vitamins, especially the water-soluble vitamins—the vitamin B group and vitamin C—do not last long during starvation. Consequently, after a week or more of starvation, mild vitamin deficiencies usually begin to appear, and after several weeks, severe vitamin deficiencies can occur. These deficiencies can add to the debility that leads to death.

Vitamins Daily Requirements of Vitamins.  A vitamin is an organic compound needed in small quantities for normal metabolism that cannot be manufactured in the cells of the body. Lack of vitamins in the diet can cause important metabolic deficits. Table 71-3 lists the amounts of important vitamins required daily by the average person. These requirements vary considerably, depending on such factors as body size, rate of growth, amount of exercise, and pregnancy. Storage of Vitamins in the Body.  Vitamins are stored to a slight extent in all cells. Some vitamins are stored to a major extent in the liver. For instance, the quantity of vitamin A stored in the liver may be sufficient to maintain a person for 5 to 10 months without any intake of vitamin A. The quantity of vitamin D stored in the liver is usually sufficient to maintain a person for 2 to 4 months without any additional intake of vitamin D. The storage of most water-soluble vitamins is relatively slight. This applies especially to most vitamin B compounds. When a person’s diet is deficient in vitamin B compounds,

Chapter 71  Dietary Balances; Regulation of Feeding; Obesity and Starvation; Vitamins and Minerals Table 71-3  Required Daily Amounts of Vitamins Amount

A

5000 IU

Thiamine

1.5 mg

Riboflavin

1.8 mg

Niacin

20 mg

Ascorbic acid

45 mg

D

400 IU

E

15 IU

K

70 μg

Folic acid

0.4 mg

B12

3 μg

Pyridoxine

2 mg

Pantothenic acid

Unknown

clinical symptoms of the deficiency can sometimes be recognized within a few days (except for vitamin B12, which can last in the liver in a bound form for a year or longer). Absence of vitamin C, another water-soluble vitamin, can cause symptoms within a few weeks and can cause death from scurvy in 20 to 30 weeks. Vitamin A Vitamin A occurs in animal tissues as retinol. This vitamin does not occur in foods of vegetable origin, but provitamins for the formation of vitamin A do occur in abundance in many vegetable foods. These are the yellow and red carotenoid pigments, which, because their chemical structures are similar to that of vitamin A, can be changed into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A Deficiency Causes “Night Blindness” and Abnormal Epithelial Cell Growth.  One basic function of vitamin A is its use in the formation of the retinal pigments of the eye, which is discussed in Chapter 50. Vitamin A is needed to form the visual pigments and, therefore, to prevent night blindness. Vitamin A is also necessary for normal growth of most cells of the body and especially for normal growth and proliferation of the different types of epithelial cells. When vitamin A is lacking, the epithelial structures of the body tend to become stratified and keratinized. Vitamin A deficiency manifests itself by (1) scaliness of the skin and sometimes acne; (2) failure of growth of young animals, including cessation of skeletal growth; (3) failure of reproduction, associated especially with atrophy of the germinal epithelium of the testes and sometimes with interruption of the female sexual cycle; and (4) keratinization of the cornea, with resultant corneal opacity and blindness. In vitamin A deficiency, the damaged epithelial structures often become infected (e.g., conjunctivae of the eyes, linings of the urinary tract, and respiratory passages). Vitamin A has been called an “anti-infection” vitamin. Thiamine (Vitamin B1) Thiamine operates in the metabolic systems of the body principally as thiamine pyrophosphate; this compound functions

Niacin Niacin, also called nicotinic acid, functions in the body as coenzymes in the form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP). These coenzymes are hydrogen acceptors; they combine with hydrogen atoms as they are removed from

853

U n i t X III

Vitamin

as a cocarboxylase, operating mainly in conjunction with a protein decarboxylase for decarboxylation of pyruvic acid and other α-keto acids, as discussed in Chapter 67. Thiamine deficiency (beriberi) causes decreased utilization of pyruvic acid and some amino acids by the tissues, but increased utilization of fats. Thus, thiamine is specifically needed for the final metabolism of carbohydrates and many amino acids. The decreased utilization of these nutrients is responsible for many debilities associated with ­thiamine deficiency. Thiamine Deficiency Causes Lesions of the Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems.  The central nervous system normally depends almost entirely on the metabolism of carbohydrates for its energy. In thiamine deficiency, the utilization of glucose by nervous tissue may be decreased 50 to 60 percent and is replaced by the utilization of ketone bodies derived from fat metabolism. The neuronal cells of the central nervous system frequently show chromatolysis and swelling during thiamine deficiency, changes that are characteristic of neuronal cells with poor nutrition. These changes can disrupt communication in many portions of the central nervous system. Thiamine deficiency can cause degeneration of myelin sheaths of nerve fibers in both the peripheral nerves and the central nervous system. Lesions in the peripheral nerves frequently cause them to become extremely irritable, resulting in “polyneuritis,” characterized by pain radiating along the course of one or many peripheral nerves. Also, fiber tracts in the cord can degenerate to such an extent that paralysis occasionally results; even in the absence of paralysis, the muscles atrophy, resulting in severe weakness. Thiamine Deficiency Weakens the Heart and Causes Peripheral Vasodilation.  A person with severe thiamine deficiency eventually develops cardiac failure because of weakened cardiac muscle. Further, the venous return of blood to the heart may be increased to as much as two times normal. This occurs because thiamine deficiency causes peripheral vasodilation throughout the circulatory system, presumably as a result of decreased release of metabolic energy in the tissues, leading to local vascular dilation. The cardiac effects of thiamine deficiency are due partly to high blood flow into the heart and partly to primary weakness of the cardiac muscle. Peripheral edema and ascites also occur to a major extent in some people with thiamine deficiency, mainly because of cardiac failure. Thiamine Deficiency Causes Gastrointestinal Tract Disturbances.  Among the gastrointestinal symptoms of thiamine deficiency are indigestion, severe constipation, anorexia, gastric atony, and hypochlorhydria. All these effects presumably result from failure of the smooth muscle and glands of the gastrointestinal tract to derive sufficient energy from ­carbohydrate metabolism. The overall picture of thiamine deficiency, including polyneuritis, cardiovascular symptoms, and gastrointestinal disorders, is frequently referred to as beriberi—especially when the cardiovascular symptoms predominate.

Unit XIII  Metabolism and Temperature Regulation food substrates by many types of dehydrogenases. The typical operation of both these coenzymes is presented in Chapter 67. When a deficiency of niacin exists, the normal rate of dehydrogenation cannot be maintained; therefore, oxidative delivery of energy from the foodstuffs to the ­functioning ­elements of all cells cannot occur at normal rates. In the early stages of niacin deficiency, simple ­physiological changes such as muscle weakness and poor glandular secretion may occur, but in severe niacin deficiency, actual tissue death ensues. Pathological lesions appear in many parts of the central nervous system, and permanent dementia or many types of psychoses may result. Also, the skin develops a cracked, pigmented scaliness in areas that are exposed to mechanical irritation or sun irradiation; thus, it appears that in persons with niacin deficiency, the skin is unable to repair irritative damage. Niacin deficiency causes intense irritation and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and other portions of the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in many digestive abnormalities that can lead to widespread gastrointestinal hemorrhage in severe cases. It is possible that this results from generalized depression of metabolism in the gastrointestinal epithelium and failure of appropriate epithelial repair. The clinical entity called pellagra and the canine ­disease called black tongue are caused mainly by niacin deficiency. Pellagra is greatly exacerbated in people on a corn diet because corn is deficient in the amino acid tryptophan, which can be converted in limited quantities to niacin in the body. Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) Riboflavin normally combines in the tissues with phosphoric acid to form two coenzymes, flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD). They operate as hydrogen carriers in important oxidative systems of the mitochondria. NAD, operating in association with specific dehydrogenases, usually accepts hydrogen removed from various food substrates and then passes the hydrogen to FMN or FAD; finally, the hydrogen is released as an ion into the mitochondrial matrix to become oxidized by oxygen (described in Chapter 67). Deficiency of riboflavin in experimental animals causes severe dermatitis, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle spasticity that finally becomes muscle weakness, coma and decline in body temperature, and then death. Thus, severe riboflavin deficiency can cause many of the same effects as a lack of niacin in the diet; presumably, the debilities that result in each instance are due to generally depressed oxidative processes within the cells. In the human being, there are no known cases of riboflavin deficiency severe enough to cause the marked debilities noted in experimental animals, but mild riboflavin deficiency is probably common. Such deficiency causes digestive disturbances, burning sensations of the skin and eyes, cracking at the corners of the mouth, headaches, mental depression, ­forgetfulness, and so on. Although the manifestations of riboflavin deficiency are usually relatively mild, this deficiency frequently occurs in association with deficiency of thiamine, niacin, or both. Many deficiency syndromes, including pellagra, beriberi, sprue, and kwashiorkor, are probably due to a combined deficiency of a number of vitamins, as well as other aspects of malnutrition.

854

Vitamin B12 Several cobalamin compounds that possess the common prosthetic group shown next exhibit so-called vitamin B12 activity. Note that this prosthetic group contains cobalt, which has bonds similar to those of iron in the hemoglobin molecule. It is likely that the cobalt atom functions in much the same way that the iron atom functions to combine reversibly with other substances. Vitamin B12 Deficiency Causes Pernicious Anemia.  Vitamin B12 performs several metabolic functions, acting as a hydrogen acceptor coenzyme. Its most important function is to act as a coenzyme for reducing ribonucleotides to deoxyribonucleotides, a step that is necessary in the replication of genes. This could explain the major functions of ­vitamin B12: (1) promotion of growth and (2) promotion of red blood cell formation and maturation. This red cell function is described in detail in Chapter 32 in relation to pernicious anemia, a type of anemia caused by failure of red blood cell maturation when vitamin B12 is deficient. Vitamin B12 Deficiency Causes Demyelination of the Large Nerve Fibers of the Spinal Cord.  The demyelination of nerve fibers in people with vitamin B12 deficiency occurs especially in the posterior columns, and occasionally the lateral columns, of the spinal cord. As a result, many people with pernicious anemia have loss of peripheral sensation and, in severe cases, even become paralyzed. The usual cause of vitamin B12 deficiency is not lack of this vitamin in the food but deficiency of formation of intrinsic factor, which is normally secreted by the parietal cells of the gastric glands and is essential for absorption of vitamin B12 by the ileal mucosa. This is discussed in Chapters 32 and 66. Folic Acid (Pteroylglutamic Acid) Several pteroylglutamic acids exhibit the “folic acid effect.” Folic acid functions as a carrier of hydroxymethyl and formyl groups. Perhaps its most important use in the body is in the synthesis of purines and thymine, which are required for formation of DNA. Therefore, folic acid, like vitamin B12, is required for replication of the cellular genes. This may explain one of the most important functions of folic acid—to promote growth. Indeed, when it is absent from the diet, an animal grows very little. Folic acid is an even more potent growth