It has been postulated that cardiopulmonary baroreceptor unloading in humans results in nonuniform activation of the sympathetic nervous system. We reasoned that simultaneous measurements of arterial and venous norepinephrine (NE) spillover and clearance (using NE kinetics), muscle sympathetic neural activity (using microneurography), forearm blood flow (using plethysmography), and n blood flow (using laser Doppler velocimetry) during lower body negative pressure at -15 mm Hg would isolate the location and extent of cardiopulmonary baroreceptor-mediated sympathetic nervous system activation. We exposed normal subjects (n = 8) to lower body negative pressure for 30 minutes, with measurements obtained at baseline, 5-10 minutes (EARLY), and 25-30 minutes (LATE). We found that arterial NE spillover, reflecting systemic sympathetic nervous system activation, did not increase significantly, whereas arterial NE clearance decreased significantly. In contrast, forearm venous NE spillover, reflecting skin and muscle sympathetic nervous system activation, increased by 17% and muscle sympathetic neural activity by 35% EARLY, whereas venous clearance did not change significantly. Although laser Doppler skin blood flow did not change, plethysmographic forearm blood flow (combined muscle and skin blood flow) decreased by 28%. All changes were sustained throughout 30 minutes of lower body negative pressure. Our data suggest that sympathetic vasoconstriction to muscle is greater than it is to skin in response to cardiopulmonary baroreceptor unloading. Moreover, our data suggest that reduced NE clearance in the arterial circulation is the primary mechanism by which arterial NE concentrations rise. Conversely, NE spillover appears to be the primary mechanism responsible for increasing venous NE concentrations measured from the forearm during cardiopulmonary baroreceptor unloading.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine