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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effect of eye color on heart rate response to intramuscular administration of atropine.

Melanin has been previously shown to modify the mydriatic response to atropine instillation. Skin and iris pigmentation has also been shown to modify aspects of the heart rate response to injected atropine, although these observations have been generally overlooked. In this study, 20 healthy non-smoker male subjects, ages 20-30 years, were injected by two different automatic injector devices and the mydriatic and heart rate responses in the first 90 min were reported. The group included 8 brown-eyed, 4 hazel-eyed, and 8 blue-eyed subjects. Although there were differences in the rate of atropine delivery between the two injection devices, the heart rate responses were independently modified by eye color to a magnitude of difference as great as the differences between injectors. Subjects with more pigmented irides (brown-eyed) showed a more rapid rise in heart rate compared to less pigmented irides (hazel-eyed and blue-eyed subjects). Following injection by the device with a slower atropine absorption rate, these differences were particularly enhanced and an abbreviated bradycardic phase of the heart rate response was observed for the brown-eyed subjects. This observation confirms earlier reports and suggests the possibility of an interference by melanin (in the iris or elsewhere) in atropine accessibility to selected muscarinic target sites.[1]


  1. Effect of eye color on heart rate response to intramuscular administration of atropine. Friedl, K.E., Hannan, C.J., Mader, T.H., Patience, T.H., Schadler, P.W. J. Auton. Nerv. Syst. (1988) [Pubmed]
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