Arterial Baroreflex Control of Muscle Sympathetic Nerve Activity




Fadel, Paul Joseph


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Fadel, Paul Joseph, Jr., Arterial Baroreflex Control of Muscle Sympathetic Nerve Activity. Doctor of Philosophy (Biomedical Science), July 2000; 100 pp; 3 tables; 10 figures; bibliography. Arterial baroreflex control of sympathetic nerve activity is dependent on afferent nerve activity emanating from both the aortic and carotid baroreceptors. While several investigations have reported that the aortic baroreceptor reflex dominates in the baroreflex control of heart rate in humans, the role of carotid and the aortic baroreceptors in the control of sympathetic nerve activity remains unclear. In addition, the effect of exercise and long term endurance training on baroreflex-sympathetic nerve activity responses requires further definition. Therefore, the purpose of the investigations described within this dissertation was to: i) describe carotid baroreflex (CBR) control of muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) at rest and during exercise, ii) examine the relative contribution of the carotid and aortic baroreflexes to the overall arterial baroreflex control of MSNA during acute hypotension, and iii) determine the effect of fitness on arterial baroreflex control of MSNA. In the first investigation, we constructed stimulus-response relationships for CBR control of MSNA at rest and during dynamic arm cycling and demonstrated that carotid baroreflex control of MSNA was reset to function at the higher arterial pressures induced by exercise without a change in reflex sensitivity. Thus, we concluded that the carotid baroreflex control of MSNA was preserved during dynamic exercise. In the second investigation, acute hypotension was induced non-pharmacologically by releasing a unilateral arterial thigh cuff (300 Torr) following nine minutes of resting ischemia under two conditions: control (aortic and carotid baroreflex deactivation) and suction (aortic baroreflex deactivation alone). The application of neck suction to negate the CBR during cuff release caused a significant attenuation of the MSNA response and a greater decrease in mean arterial pressure; thereby signifying the importance of the CBR in the control of MSNA and maintenance of arterial blood pressure. However, when the drop in carotid sinus pressure was counteracted with neck suction a significant MSNA response was noted, indicating the dominance of the aortic baroreflex control of MSNA. Furthermore, a comparison between high-fit (HF) and average fit (AF) subjects indicated that despite an augmented baroreflex control of MSNA, HF subjects exhibited a greater decrease in mean arterial pressure compared to AF subjects. Thus, it appeared that although the arterial baroreflex appropriately increased the MSNA response to hypotension, the regulation of blood pressure remained attenuated in the HF subjects. We contend that an impaired control of vasomotion hinders blood pressure regulation in high-fit subjects.