This research will mechanistically describe a poorly understood aspect of arterial baroreflex control which can impact the regulation of systemic arterial pressure. The arterial pressure - heart period relation does not simply describe a sigmoid, but demonstrates a hysteresis. That is, heart period responses depend on the direction of pressure change; at any pressure, heart rates are slower during falls than during rises. This characteristic of the arterial baro-reflex may have significant clinical import especially in understanding hypotensive syndromes. This work will examine the likely key component of baroreflex hysteresis -- barosensory vessel distensibility. Lesser distensibility may not only alter baroreflex sensitivity, but also augment baroreflex hysteresis. If hysteresis is exaggerated by arterial stiffening, this alone could produce discordant heart rate responses to hypotensive stimuli, leading to reduced cerebral blood flow and syncope. Rapid pharmacologically induced arterial pressure changes will be used to characterize autonomic baroreflex hysteresis through the full reflex range. The autonomic responses and pressure changes will be related to concurrent measures of carotid barosensory vessel stretch to examine the viscoelastic component of baroreflex hysteresis. Since the prevailing stretch determines barosensory vessel distensibility, hysteresis will be characterized under two conditions to vary the level of stretch (supine and 45 tilt). Since individuals with greater carotid stiffness may demonstrate a maladaptive exaggerated hysteresis, these relationships will be examined not only in normotensives but also in middle aged hypertensives who have been shown previously to have greater carotid stiffness. This work may provide key insight to understand the high prevalence of arterial pressure dysregulation in order and hypertensive individuals.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F32)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-HEM-2 (01))
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for Aged
United States
Zip Code
Freeman, Roy; Lirofonis, Vasilios; Farquhar, William B et al. (2002) Limb venous compliance in patients with idiopathic orthostatic intolerance and postural tachycardia. J Appl Physiol 93:636-44
Myers, Christopher W; Farquhar, William B; Forman, Daniel E et al. (2002) Carotid distensibility characterized via the isometric exercise pressor response. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 283:H2592-8
Farquhar, William B; Hunt, Brian E; Taylor, J Andrew et al. (2002) Blood volume and its relation to peak O(2) consumption and physical activity in patients with chronic fatigue. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 282:H66-71
Hunt, B E; Farquhar, W B; Taylor, J A (2001) Does reduced vascular stiffening fully explain preserved cardiovagal baroreflex function in older, physically active men? Circulation 103:2424-7