Influence of age on respiratory modulation of muscle sympathetic nerve activity, blood pressure and baroreflex function in humans

Alena Shantsila, David B McIntyre, Gregory Y H Lip, Paul J Fadel, Julian F R Paton, Anthony Edward Pickering, James P Fisher

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

12 Citations (Scopus)
311 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Healthy ageing and alterations in respiratory–sympathetic coupling have been independently linked with heightened sympathetic neural vasoconstrictor activity. We investigated how age influences the respiratory-related modulation of muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) and the association between the rhythmic fluctuations in MSNA and blood pressure that occur with respiration (Traube–Hering waves; THW). Ten young (22 ± 2 years; mean ± SD) and 10 older healthy men (58 ± 6 years) were studied while resting supine and breathing spontaneously. MSNA, blood pressure and respiration were recorded simultaneously. Resting values were ascertained and respiratory cycle-triggered averaging of MSNA and blood pressure measurements performed. The MSNA burst incidence was higher in older individuals [22.7 ± 9.2 versus 42.2 ± 13.7 bursts (100 heart beats)−1, P < 0.05], and was reduced to a similar extent in the inspiratory to postinspiratory period in young and older subjects (by ∼25% compared with mid- to late expiration). A similar attenuation of MSNA burst frequency (in bursts per minute), amplitude and total activity (burst frequency × mean burst amplitude) was also observed in the inspiratory to postinspiratory period in both groups. A significant positive correlation between respiratory-related MSNA and the magnitude of Traube–Hering waves was observed in all young (100%) and most older subjects (80%). These data suggest that the strength of the cyclical inhibition of MSNA during respiration is similar between young and older individuals; thus, alterations in respiratory–sympathetic coupling appear not to contribute to the age-related elevation in MSNA. Furthermore, central respiratory–sympathetic coupling plays a role in the generation of Traube–Hering waves in both healthy young and older humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1039-1051
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental Physiology
Volume100
Issue number9
Early online date8 Jul 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015

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