Arousal responses to hypertension in lambs: Effect of sinoaortic denervation

R. S C Horne, N. D. De Preu, P. J. Berger, A. M. Walker

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Newborn lambs were subjected to hypertensive stimuli of 1-min duration to examine features of hypertension-induced arousal from sleep. Reflex mechanisms involved were studied by performing the same tests after sinoaortic denervation (SAD). In intact lambs, hypertension increased the probability of arousal from both quiet sleep (QS) and rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. Hypertension resulted in arousal in 51% (QS) and 50% (REM) of tests. Arousal time was significantly longer in REM (29.3 ± 0.9 s, mean ± SE) than in QS (22.6 ± 0.6 s, P < 0.01). Arterial oxygen saturation (SO2) and partial pressure of oxygen (PO2) measured at the point of arousal, or after 60 s if arousal failed to occur, were unchanged from control values. After SAD hypertension did not increase the probability of arousal. Arousals significantly decreased (P < 0.001) to 31% (QS) and 10% (REM). These findings indicate that acute hypertension, mediated via arterial baroreceptors, is a potent stimulus for arousal. In intact lambs, the arousal probability increased and arousal time decreased with increasing stimulus strength (1-30 mmHg), but the arousal time difference between QS and REM remained constant. Consideration of these findings in terms of a simple baroreflex threshold model suggests that the slower response in REM sleep is explained by slower neural processes after the achievement of a critical arousal input rather than by a higher threshold for baroreceptor input in this state.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4 29/4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1991


  • Baroreceptors
  • Sleep

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