Electronic versions


  • 2019 Baroreflex

    Accepted author manuscript, 1 MB, PDF-document

    Embargo ends: 20/03/20


Exposure to high altitude (HA) is characterized by heightened muscle sympathetic neural activity (MSNA); however, the effect on arterial baroreflex control of MSNA is unknown. Furthermore, arterial baroreflex control at HA may be influenced by genotypic and phenotypic differences between lowland and highland natives. Fourteen Lowlanders (12 male) and nine male Sherpa underwent haemodynamic and sympathetic neural assessment at low altitude (Lowlanders, low altitude; 344 m, Sherpa, Kathmandu; 1400 m) and following gradual ascent to 5050 m. Beat‐by‐beat haemodynamics (photoplethysmography) and MSNA (microneurography) were recorded lying supine. Indices of vascular sympathetic baroreflex function were determined from the relationship of diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and corresponding MSNA at rest (i.e. DBP ‘operating pressure’ and MSNA ‘operating point’), as well as during a modified Oxford baroreflex test (i.e. ‘gain’). Operating pressure and gain were unchanged for Lowlanders during HA exposure; however, the operating point was reset upwards (48 ± 16 vs. 22 ± 12 bursts 100 HB−1, P = 0.001). Compared to Lowlanders at 5050 m, Sherpa had similar gain and operating pressure, although the operating point was lower (30 ± 13 bursts 100 HB−1, P = 0.02); MSNA burst frequency was lower for Sherpa (22 ± 11 vs. 30 ± 9 bursts min−1 P = 0.03). Breathing 100% oxygen did not alter vascular sympathetic baroreflex function for either group at HA. For Lowlanders, upward baroreflex resetting promotes heightened sympathetic vasoconstrictor activity and maintains blood pressure stability, at least during early HA exposure; mechanisms other than peripheral chemoreflex activation could be involved. Sherpa adaptation appears to favour a lower sympathetic vasoconstrictor activity compared to Lowlanders for blood pressure homeostasis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2379-2390
JournalJournal of Physiology - London
Issue number9
Early online date20 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019
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