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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2001 Sep;85(5):420-6.

Enhanced flow-dependent vasodilatation after bed rest, a possible mechanism for orthostatic intolerance in humans.

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  • 1Hĵpital Laribosière, Explorations fonctionelles multidisciplinaires, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale U541, Paris, France. philippe.bonnin@lrb.ap-hop-paris.fr


We investigated the alteration in flow-dependent-dilatation in the orthostatic intolerance occurring after bed-rest deconditioning. Eight men [aged mean (SEM) 32 (2) years] underwent two consecutive periods of 7 days of head-down-tilt (HDT, -6 degrees) during bed rest. A control age and sex matched group [n = 8, 30 (2) years], maintained its usual physical activity. Blood flow velocity (BFV) and diameter (Doppler and echotracking systems) were measured in the brachial artery, under basal conditions and during the post ischaemic hyperaemia following occlusion. The increase in BFV post-ischaemia did not change before, during and after HDT but the relative increase in the diameter was greater on the 7th day of the HDT period than before HDT [+8.8(1.6)% compared to +3.7(1.0)%, P < 0.001]. After HDT, 11 of 16 standing tests (comprising eight subjects in the two HDT periods) had to be stopped because of orthostatic intolerance. The flow-dependent-dilatation measured at the end of HDT was negatively correlated with the post-bed-rest duration of orthostatic tolerance (r = 0.78, P < 0.01). After the sublingual administration of glyceryl trinitrate, there was no change in the increase in diameter. No significant changes were observed in the control group. Bed-rest deconditioning enhances the flow-dependent vasodilatation of large arteries and might contribute to the orthostatic intolerance observed following bed-rest.

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