Autonomic mechanisms underpinning the stress response in borderline hypertensive rats

O Arenac, M Lozi, S Drakuli, D Baji, JFR Paton, D Murphy, N Japundi-Igon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) short-term variability and spontaneous baroreflex functioning in adult borderline hypertensive rats and normotensive control animals kept on normal-salt diet. Arterial pulse pressure was recorded by radio telemetry. Systolic BP, diastolic BP and HR variabilities and baroreflex were assessed by spectral analysis and the sequence method, respectively. In all experimental conditions (baseline and stress), borderline hypertensive rats exhibited higher BP, increased baroreflex sensitivity and resetting, relative to control animals. Acute shaker stress (single exposure to 200 cycles min-1 shaking platform) increased BP in both strains, while chronic shaker stress (3-day exposure to shaking platform) increased systolic BP in borderline hypertensive rats alone. Low- and high-frequency HR variability increased only in control animals in response to acute and chronic shaker (single exposure to restrainer) stress. Acute restraint stress increased BP, HR, low- and high-frequency variability of BP and HR in both strains to a greater extent than acute shaker stress. Only normotensive rats exhibited a reduced ratio of low- to high-frequency HR variability, pointing to domination of vagal cardiac control. In borderline hypertensive rats, but not in control animals, chronic restraint stress (9-day exposure to restrainer) increased low- and high-frequency BP and HR variability and their ratio, indicating a shift towards sympathetic cardiovascular control. It is concluded that maintenance of BP in borderline hypertensive rats in basal conditions and during stress is associated with enhanced baroreflex sensitivity and resetting. Imbalance in sympathovagal control was evident only during exposure of borderline hypertensive rats to stressors.
Translated title of the contributionAutonomic mechanisms underpinning the stress response in borderline hypertensive rats
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574 - 589
Number of pages16
JournalExperimental Physiology
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


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