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Curr Hypertens Rep. 2007 Jun;9(3):214-21.

The NTS and integration of cardiovascular control during exercise in normotensive and hypertensive individuals.

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  • Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Biomedical Sciences Institute, University of São Paulo, Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes, 1524 05508-900, São Paulo, Brazil. michelin@usp.br


Due to upward resetting of baroreceptors, tachycardia coexists with increased pressure during dynamic exercise. This review critically evaluates current knowledge of proposed mechanisms to explain the continuous resetting of baroreflex control of heart rate and sympathetic nerve activity during and after exercise and exercise training. Of interest is the exercise-induced upward resetting that occurs in hypertensive and normotensive individuals. Accumulated evidence indicates that not only somatosensory afferents, but also inputs from central command projecting to the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) in the dorsal brainstem may mediate inhibition of excitatory neurotransmission on barosensitive neurons. Specific coordinated activation of vasopressinergic and oxytocinergic projections to the NTS is essential to tonically maintain baroreflex sensitivity and to adjust heart rate and cardiac output to circulatory demand at rest and during exercise in both sedentary and trained individuals. These findings reinforce the paramount importance of the NTS in integration of cardiovascular control during exercise.

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