Vestibular control of intermediate- and long-term cardiovascular responses to experimental orthostasis
Sustained orthostasis elicits the elevation of arterial blood pressure (BP) via sympathetic activation in conscious Wistar rats for at least 2 hours. We tested the hypothesis whether vestibular apparatus plays a role in BP and heart rate (HR) control in response to prolonged gravitational stress. BP and HR responses to 45 degrees head-up for either 2 or 24 hours were monitored by telemetry. Vestibular lesions (VL) were performed by a modified microsurgical-chemical technique. Horizontal BP and
... Horizontal BP and HR were not influenced by VL preceding 2-hour tilt. VL abolished the sustained 2-hour BP response to head-up tilt (8.3+/-0.9 mm Hg relative to horizontal values) while suppressed HR transiently only. VL eliminated diurnal BP fluctuations and decreased HR in horizontal position for 24 hours. Head-up tilt for 24 hours increased BP and HR progressively in intact animals, raising their daily average value by 5.6+/-0.7 mm Hg and 22.2+/-6 BPM, respectively. VL resulted in an initial BP rise followed by progressive BP reduction in response to long-term head-up tilt (4+/-2.2 mm Hg) without eliminating the tachycardia (34.4+/-5.4 BPM). Thus, blockade of labyrinthine inputs attenuates the BP responses elicited by both intermediate and long-term gravitational stress of orthostatic type. However, other sensory inputs derived from non-vestibular cues (e.g. proprioceptive, visual, visceral, cutaneous etc.) seem to be effective enough to maintain BP normal.