Vestibular activation of sympathetic nerve activity
Article first published online: 28 FEB 2003
Acta Physiologica Scandinavica
Volume 177, Issue 3, pages 313–319, March 2003
How to Cite
Ray, C. A. and Carter, J. R. (2003), Vestibular activation of sympathetic nerve activity. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 177: 313–319. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-201X.2003.01084.x
- Issue published online: 28 FEB 2003
- Article first published online: 28 FEB 2003
- Received 1 November 2002, accepted 15 December 2002
- orthostatic intolerance;
- sympathetic nervous system;
- vestibulosympathetic reflex
Aim: The vestibulosympathetic reflex refers to sympathetic nerve activation by the vestibular system. Animal studies indicate that the vestibular system assists in blood pressure regulation during orthostasis. Although human studies clearly demonstrate activation of muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) during engagement of the otolith organs, the role of the vestibulosympathetic reflex in maintaining blood pressure during orthostasis is not well-established. Examination of the vestibulosympathetic reflex with other cardiovascular reflexes indicates that it is a powerful and independent reflex. Ageing, which is associated with an increased risk for orthostatic hypotension, attenuates the vestibulosympathetic reflex. The attenuated reflex is associated with a reduction in arterial pressure.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that the vestibulosympathetic reflex assists in blood pressure regulation in humans, but future studies examining this reflex in other orthostatically intolerant populations are necessary to address this hypothesis.