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Keywords:

  • PRES;
  • Baroreceptors;
  • Hypertension;
  • Thermal pain threshold;
  • Mechanical pain threshold

Abstract

Prior studies have noted a pain relieving effect of baroreceptor stimulation and of higher tonic blood pressure in animals and humans. The present study used a new technique for the controlled, noninvasive stimulation of human carotid baroreceptors (PRES). PRES baroreceptor manipulation was delivered to both normotensive subjects (n= 11) and medication-free labile hypertensive subjects (n= 10) during both thermal and mechanical pain. Consistent with prior research, hypertensives had a higher threshold for thermal pain than did normotensives. PRES baroreceptor manipulation had no significant effect on thermal pain threshold for either group. For the mechanical pain model, the opposite results were obtained; group pain threshold did not differ, but there was a significant PRES baroreceptor stimulation effect of increasing pain threshold for both groups. Results are discussed in terms of specific features of the stimuli, dampening of pain in hypertensives, and adaptation to pain.