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Physiol Rev. 1996 Jan;76(1):193-244.

Modulation of cardiovascular control mechanisms and their interaction.

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  • 1Physiologisches Institut der Humboldt, Universität zu Berlin, Medizinische Fakultät (Charité), Germany.


It is generally held that the role of a specific control element can only be understood within its physiological environment. The reviewed studies make it clear that there is a potent interplay between locally produced substances such as adenosine, nitric oxide, prostaglandins, and various others all interacting with the central level of control. This can occur at central sites (e.g., nitric oxide in the brain) or in the periphery (e.g., neural influence on autoregulation). The interactions are more or less pronounced during specific physiological challenges. Furthermore, several of these interactions are altered under pathological circumstances, and in some cases, the interactions seem to maintain or even augment the severity of disease. When more than three parameters participate in an interaction, the resulting regulation may become extremely complex. If these parameters are nonlinearly coupled with each other, the only way to shed light onto the nature of control network is by treating it as a black box. With the use of spectral analysis or nonlinear methods, it is possible to disentangle the fundamental nature of the system in terms of the complexity and stability. Therefore, modern developments in cardiovascular physiology utilizing these techniques, some of which are derived from the "chaos theory," are reviewed.

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