Effect of simulated microgravity on cardiopulmonary baroreflex control of forearm vascular resistance

V. A. Convertino, D. F. Doerr, D. A. Ludwig, J. Vernikos

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82 Scopus citations


The stimulus-response characteristics of cardiopulmonary baroreflex control of forearm vascular resistance (FVR) were studied in 11 healthy men before and after 7 days of 6° head-down bedrest to test the hypothesis that microgravity alters this reflex response. We assessed the relationship between stimulus [changes in central venous pressure (ΔCVP)] and reflex response (ΔFVR) during unloading of cardiopulmonary baroreceptors with lower body negative pressure (LBNP; 0 to -20 mmHg). ΔCVP during bedrest and LBNP was estimated from peripheral vein pressures in the dependent right arm. Compared with prebedrest baseline, plasma volume and estimated CVP were decreased by 13 and 33%, respectively, at 7 days of bedrest. Progressive reflex forearm vasoconstriction occurred in response to graded reductions in estimated CVP during LBNP, and ΔFVR per unit ΔCVP was doubled after bedrest. The increase in sensitivity of the cardiopulmonary baroreflex control of FVR was related to reduced circulating blood volume, suggesting that enhanced peripheral vasoconstriction in individuals adapted to microgravity can be attributed, in part, to hypovolemia. In addition, microgravity appears to alter the stimulus for cardiopulmonary baroreceptors to a lower operational range of CVP, suggesting the possibility of chronic resetting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1962-R1969
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number6 35-6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994


  • baroreflex sensitivity
  • bedrest
  • blood volume
  • central venous pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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