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In this study, two cardioactive drugs, acetylcholine (ACh) and the tetrapeptide FMRFamide, are perfused through the isolated systemic heart of the gastropod, Busycon canaliculatum. Their effect is examined in terms of the regulation of output, and is then related to the in vivo regulation of stroke volume.

ACh decreases cardiac output by reducing both stroke volume and heart rate. End-diastolic volume and cardiac reserve increase with drug concentration. These effects are accompanied by a slowing in the rise time of the electromyogram prepotential and an increase in the duration of the plateau phase. Low concentrations of FMRFamide increase output by accelerating the heart rate. Stroke volume is only affected at higher concentrations (5×10−7 moll−1), and then negatively. Enddiastolic volume is reduced. Between 10−9 and 10−8 moll−1, FMRFamide increases the rise time of the prepotential and the amplitude of the plateau; the duration of the plateau is markedly shortened. At 5×10−7 moll−1 and above, the plateau is extended and the cardiac reserve is reduced to zero. The two drugs have opposite effects on the characteristics of the aortic pressure pulse: ACh reduces the amplitude of the pulse, but increases its duration.