This study tested the hypothesis that limb venous responses to baroreceptor unloading are altered in individuals with high blood pressure (HBP) compared with normotensive (NT) controls. Calf venous compliance was assessed in 20 subjects with prehypertension and stage-1 hypertension (mean arterial pressure, MAP: 1041 mm Hg) and 13 NT controls (MAP: 862 mm Hg) at baseline and during lower body negative pressure (LBNP), using venous occlusion plethysmography. Baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) was measured using the sequence technique and total peripheral resistance (TPR) was estimated from finger plethysmography. Baseline venous compliance was not different between groups, but the HBP group had lower baseline lnBRS (2.220.14 vs 2.70.18 ms mm Hg 1) and greater baseline TPR (3828138 vs 3250111 dyn sec 1 cm 5 m 2, P0.05). Calf venous compliance was reduced in response to LBNP only in the NT group (P0.05). The HBP group had a greater increase in TPR (ΔTPR) compared with the NT group (1649335 vs 718196 dyn sec 1 cm 5 m 2, P0.05). In conclusion, the early stages of hypertension are characterized by an attenuated venoconstrictor response to baroreceptor unloading, which may compensate for an exaggerated vasoconstrictor response and protect against further increases in blood pressure.
- baroreceptor unloading
- sympathetic nervous system