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Effect of heavy exercise on spectral baroreflex sensitivity, heart rate, and blood pressure variability in well-trained humans

Abstract : The aim of the study was to assess the instantaneous spectral components of heart rate variability (HRV) and systolic blood pressure variability (SBPV) and determine the low-frequency (LF) and high-frequency baroreflex sensitivity (HF-BRS) during a graded maximal exercise test. The first hypothesis was that the hyperpnea elicited by heavy exercise could entail a significant increase in HF-SBPV by mechanical effect once the first and second ventilatory thresholds (VTs) were exceeded. It was secondly hypothesized that vagal tone progressively withdrawing with increasing load, HF-BRS could decrease during the exercise test. Fifteen well-trained subjects participated in this study. Electrocardiogram (ECG), blood pressure, and gas exchanges were recorded during a cycloergometer test. Ventilatory equivalents were computed from gas exchange parameters to assess VTs. Spectral analysis was applied on cardiovascular series to compute RR and systolic blood pressure power spectral densities, cross-spectral coherence, gain, and α index of BRS. Three exercise intensity stages were compared below (A1), between (A2), and above (A3) VTs. From A1 to A3, both HF-SBPV (A1 45 ± 6, A2 65 ± 10, and A3 120 ± 23 mm2Hg, P andlt; 0.001) and HF-HRV increased (A1 20 ± 5, A2 23 ± 8, and A340 ± 11 ms2, P andlt; 0.02), maintaining HF-BRS (gain, A1 0.68 ± 0.12, A2 0.63 ± 0.08, and A3 0.57 ± 0.09; α index, A1 0.58 ± 0.08, A2 0.48 ± 0.06, and A3 0.50 ± 0.09 ms/mmHg, not significant). However, LFBRS decreased (gain, A1 0.39 ± 0.06, A2 0.17 ± 0.02, and A3 0.11 ± 0.01, P andlt; 0.001; α index, A1 0.46 ± 0.07, A2 0.20 ± 0.02, and A3 0.14 ± 0.01 ms/mmHg, P andlt; 0.001). As expected, once VTs were exceeded, hyperpnea induced a marked increase in both HF-HRV and HF-SBPV. However, this concomitant increase allowed the maintenance of HF-BRS, presumably by a mechanoelectric feedback mechanism. Copyright © 2008 the American Physiological Society.
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F. Cottin, C. Médigue, y. Papelier. Effect of heavy exercise on spectral baroreflex sensitivity, heart rate, and blood pressure variability in well-trained humans. AJP - Heart and Circulatory Physiology, American Physiological Society, 2008, 295 (3), pp.H1150-H1155. ⟨10.1152/ajpheart.00003.2008⟩. ⟨hal-02489960⟩



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