Background: There is ongoing controversy over whether neural or peripheral factors are the predominant cause of hypertension. The closed-loop negative feedback operation of the arterial baroreflex hampers understanding of how arterial pressure (AP) is determined through the interaction between neural and peripheral factors. Methods and Results: A novel analysis of an isolated open-loop baroreceptor preparation to examine sympathetic nervous activity (SNA) and AP responses to changes in carotid sinus pressure (CSP) in adult spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and normotensive Wistar Kyoto rats (WKY) was conducted. In the neural arc (CSP-SNA relationship), the midpoint pressure (128.9±3.8 vs. 157.9±8.1 mmHg, P<0.001) and the response range of SNA to CSP (90.5±3.7 vs. 115.4±7.6%/mmHg, P=0.011) were higher in SHR. In the peripheral arc (SNA-AP relationship), slope and intercept did not differ. A baroreflex equilibrium diagram was obtained by depicting neural and peripheral arcs in a pressure-SNA plane with rescaled SNA (% in WKY). The operating-point AP (111.3±4.4 vs. 145.9±5.2 mmHg, P<0.001) and SNA (90.8±3.2 vs. 125.1±6.9% in WKY, P<0.001) were shifted towards a higher level in SHR. Conclusions: The shift of the neural arc towards a higher SNA range indicated a predominant contribution to baroreflex resetting in SHR. Notwithstanding the resetting, the carotid sinus baroreflex in SHR preserved an ability to reduce AP if activated with a high enough pressure.
- Equilibrium diagram
- Sympathetic nervous activity