The sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the autonomic nervous system have profound influences on the heart rate. The transmitter substance of the parasympathetic division, acetylcholine (ACh), reduces the heart rate, a negative chronotropic effect, whereas the transmitter substances of the sympathetic division, epinephrine and norepinephrine, increase the heart rate, a positive chronotropic effect. The dashed line in Fig. 11 illustrates the effect of ACh on the SA node. ACh binds to Gi-coupled muscarinic cholinergic receptors, which results in an increase in K+ conductance.
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