Distension of central great vein decreases sympathetic outflow in humans

Jian Cui, Zhaohui Gao, Cheryl Blaha, Michael D. Herr, Jessica Mast, Lawrence I. Sinoway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Classic canine studies suggest that central great vein distension evokes an autonomic reflex tachycardia (Bainbridge reflex). It is unclear whether central venous distension in humans is a necessary and sufficient stimulus to evoke a reflex increase in heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP), and muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA). Prior work from our laboratory suggests that limb venous distension evokes a reflex increase in BP and MSNA in humans. We hypothesized that in humans, compared with the limb venous distension, inferior vena cava (IVC) distension would evoke a less prominent increase in HR and MSNA. IVC distension (monitored with ultrasonography) was induced by two methods: 1) head-down tilt (HDT, N = 13); and 2) lower-body positive pressure (LBPP, N = 10). Two minutes of HDT induced IVC distension (Δ2.6 ± 0.2 mm, P < 0.001, ~27% in cross-sectional area), slightly increased mean BP (Δ2.3 ± 0.7 mmHg, P = 0.005), decreased MSNA (Δ5.2 ± 0.8 bursts/min, P < 0.001, N = 10), and did not alter HR (P = 0.37). LBPP induced similar IVC distension, increased BP (Δ2.0 ± 0.7 mmHg, P < 0.01), and did not alter HR (P = 0.34). Thus central venous distension leads to a rapid increase in BP and a subsequent fall in MSNA. Central venous distension does not evoke either bradycardia or tachycardia in humans. The absence of a baroreflex-mediated bradycardia suggests that the Bainbridge reflex is engaged. Clearly, this reflex differs from the powerful sympathoexcitation peripheral venous distension reflex described in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H378-H385
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Volume305
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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