Effect of head-down-tilt bed rest and hypovolemia on dynamic regulation of heart rate and blood pressure

K. I. Iwasaki, R. Zhang, J. H. Zuckerman, J. A. Pawelczyk, B. D. Levine

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105 Scopus citations


Adaptation to head-down-tilt bed rest leads to an apparent abnormality of baroreflex regulation of cardiac period. We hypothesized that this 'deconditioning response' could primarily be a result of hypovolemia, rather than a unique adaptation of the autonomic nervous system to bed rest. To test this hypothesis, nine healthy subjects underwent 2 wk of -6°head-down bed rest. One year later, five of these same subjects underwent acute hypovolemia with furosemide to produce the same reductions in plasma volume observed after bed rest. We took advantage of power spectral and transfer function analysis to examine the dynamic relationship between blood pressure (BP) and R-R interval. We found that 1) there were no significant differences between these two interventions with respect to changes in numerous cardiovascular indices, including cardiac filling pressures, arterial pressure, cardiac output, or stroke volume; 2) normalized high-frequency (0.15-0.25 Hz) power of R-R interval variability decreased significantly after both conditions, consistent with similar degrees of vagal withdrawal; 3) transfer function gain (BP to R-R interval), used as an index of arterial-cardiac baroreflex sensitivity, decreased significantly to a similar extent after both conditions in the high-frequency range; the gain also decreased similarly when expressed as BP to heart rate x stroke volume, which provides an index of the ability of the baroreflex to alter BP by modifying systemic flow; and 4) however, the low-frequency (0.05-0.15 Hz) power of systolic BP variability decreased after bed rest (-22%) compared with an increase (+155%) after acute hypovolemia, suggesting a differential response for the regulation of vascular resistance (interaction, P < 0.05). The similarity of changes in the reflex control of the circulation under both conditions is consistent with the hypothesis that reductions in plasma volume may be largely responsible for the observed changes in cardiac baroreflex control after bed rest. However, changes in vasomotor function associated with these two conditions may be different and may suggest a cardiovascular remodeling after bed rest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R2189-R2199
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number6 48-6
StatePublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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