Carotid baroreflex responsiveness in heat-stressed humans

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50 Scopus citations


The effects of whole body heating on human baroreflex function are relatively unknown. The purpose of this project was to identify whether whole body heating reduces the maximal slope of the carotid baroreflex. In 12 subjects, carotid-vasomotor and carotid-cardiac baroreflex responsiveness were assessed in normothermia and during whole body heating. Whole body heating increased sublingual temperature (from 36.4 ± 0.1 to 37.4 ± 0.1°C, P < 0.01) and increased heart rate (from 59 ± 3 to 83 ± 3 beats/min, P < 0.01), whereas mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) was slightly decreased (from 88 ± 2 to 83 ± 2 mmHg, P < 0.01). Carotid-vasomotor and carotid-cardiac responsiveness were assessed by identifying the maximal gain of MAP and heart rate to R wave-triggered changes in carotid sinus transmural pressure. Whole body heating significantly decreased the responsiveness of the carotid-vasomotor baroreflex (from -0.20 ± 0.02 to -0.13 ± 0.02 mmHg/mmHg, P < 0.01) without altering the responsiveness of the carotidcardiac baroreflex (from -0.40 ± 0.05 to -0.36 ± 0.02 beats·min-1·mmHg-1, P = 0.21). Carotid-vasomotor and carotid-cardiac baroreflex curves were shifted downward and upward, respectively, to accommodate the decrease in blood pressure and increase in heart rate that accompanied the heat stress. Moreover, the operating point of the carotidcardiac baroreflex was shifted closer to threshold (P = 0.02) by the heat stress. Reduced carotid-vasomotor baroreflex responsiveness, coupled with a reduction in the functional reserve for the carotid baroreflex to increase heart rate during a hypotensive challenge, may contribute to increased susceptibility to orthostatic intolerance during a heat stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1955-H1962
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4 48-4
StatePublished - 2000


  • Baroreceptor
  • Hyperthermia
  • Orthostatic intolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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