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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2018 Jul 13. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00302.2018. [Epub ahead of print]

Role of the Heart in Blood Pressure Lowering During Chronic Baroreflex Activation: Insight from an in Silico Analysis.

Author information

1
Physiology & Biophysics, Univiersity of Mississippi Medical Center, United States.
2
Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Mississippi Medical Center, United States.
3
of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Mississippi Medical Center, United States.
4
Physiology & Biophysics, University of Mississippi Medical Center.
5
Department of Physiology & Biophysics, University of Mississippi Medical Center, United States.

Abstract

Electrical stimulation of the baroreflex chronically suppresses sympathetic activity and arterial pressure and is currently being evaluated for the treatment of resistant hypertension. The antihypertensive effects of baroreflex activation are often attributed to renal sympathoinhibition. However, baroreflex activation also decreases heart rate, and robust blood pressure lowering occurs even after renal denervation. Because controlling renal sympathetic nerve activity and cardiac autonomic activity cannot be achieved experimentally, we used an established mathematical model of human physiology (HumMod) to provide mechanistic insight into their relative and combined contributions to the cardiovascular responses during baroreflex activation. Three week responses to baroreflex activation closely mimicked experimental observations in dogs including decreases in blood pressure, heart rate, and plasma norepinephrine, and increases in plasma atrial natriuretic peptide, providing validation of the model. Simulations showed that baroreflex-induced alterations in cardiac sympathetic and parasympathetic activity lead to sustained depression of cardiac function and increased secretion of atrial natriuretic peptide. Increased atrial natriuretic peptide and suppression of renal sympathetic nerve activity both enhanced renal excretory function and accounted for most of the chronic blood pressure lowering during baroreflex activation. However, when suppression of renal sympathetic nerve activity was blocked, the blood pressure response to baroreflex activation was not appreciably impaired due to inordinate fluid accumulation and further increases in atrial pressure and atrial natriuretic peptide secretion. These simulations provide a mechanistic understanding of experimental and clinical observations showing that baroreflex activation effectively lowers blood pressure in subjects with previous renal denervation.

KEYWORDS:

atrial natriuretic peptide; baroreflex; blood pressure; modeling; sympathetic nervous system

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