Baroreceptor stimulation alters cortical activity

Authors

  • HARALD RAU,

    Corresponding author
    1. Eberhard-Karls Universität Tübingen, Clinical and Physiological Psychology, Tübingen, Germany
      Address reprint requests to: Dr. Harald Rau, University of Tübingen, Clinical and Physiological Psychology, Gartenstrasse 29, D 7400 Tüibingen, Germany.
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  • PAUL PAULI,

    1. Eberhard-Karls Universität Tübingen, Clinical and Physiological Psychology, Tübingen, Germany
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  • STUART BRODY,

    1. Eberhard-Karls Universität Tübingen, Clinical and Physiological Psychology, Tübingen, Germany
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  • THOMAS ELBERT,

    1. Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münsler, Institute of Experimental Audiology, Münster, Germany
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  • NIELS BIRBAUMER

    1. Eberhard-Karls Universität Tübingen, Clinical and Physiological Psychology, Tübingen, Germany
    2. Universitá degli Studi, Padova, Dipartimento Psicologia Generate, Padova, Italy
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  • The research presented in this paper was supported by the German Research Society (El 101/3-2).

  • We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Renate Schweizer in data collection.

Address reprint requests to: Dr. Harald Rau, University of Tübingen, Clinical and Physiological Psychology, Gartenstrasse 29, D 7400 Tüibingen, Germany.

Abstract

The arterial baroreceptors constitute an essential sensory link for the short-term regulation of blood pressure and may also influence higher cortical function. The present study was undertaken to evaluate previous reports of such a cortical influence under conditions of psychologically controlled, mechanical baroreceplor stimulation. This control was achieved by use of PRES (phase-related external suction), a modified neck suction technique. PRES applies short suction bursts that have a different impact on baroreceptors depending on their timing within the cardiac cycle and has the advantage that subjects cannot easily discriminate between conditions of stimulation and inhibition. Electroencephalograms were recorded from 22 subjects during PRES manipulations. A surface-negative shift of about 10 μV developed during the cuff manipulations. Over frontal-central regions, this shift was smaller during baroreceptor stimulation than during inhibition. These data provide support for the proposal that baroreceptor activation influences cortical activity.

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