Cardiac baroreflex hysteresis is one of the determinants of the heart period variability asymmetry

Beatrice De Maria, Vlasta Bari, Beatrice Cairo, Emanuele Vaini, Raphael Martins De Abreu, Natalia Maria Perseguini, Juliana Milan-Mattos, Patricia Rehder-Santos, Vinícius Minatel, Aparecida Maria Catai, Laura Adelaide Dalla Vecchia, Alberto Porta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In heart period (HP) variability (HPV) recordings the percentage of negative HP variations tends to be greater than that of positive ones and this pattern is referred to as HPV asymmetry (HPVA). HPVA has been studied in several experimental conditions in healthy and pathological populations, but its origin is unclear. The baroreflex (BR) exhibits an asymmetric behavior as well given that it reacts more importantly to positive than negative arterial pressure (AP) variations. We tested the hypothesis that the BR asymmetry (BRA) is a HPVA determinant over spontaneous fluctuations of HP and systolic AP (SAP). We studied 100 healthy subjects (age from 21 to 70 yr, 54 men) comprising 20 subjects in each age decade. Electrocardiogram and noninvasive AP were recorded for 15 min at rest in supine position (REST) and during active standing (STAND). The HPVA was evaluated via Porta's index and Guzik's index, while the BRA was assessed as the difference, and normalized difference, between BR sensitivities computed over positive and negative SAP variations via the sequence method applied to HP and SAP variability. HPVA significantly increased during STAND and decreased progressively with age. BRA was not significantly detected both at REST and during STAND. However, we found a significant positive association between BRA and HPVA markers during STAND persisting even within the age groups. This study supports the use of HPVA indexes as descriptors of BRA and identified a challenge soliciting the BR response like STAND to maximize the association between HPVA and BRA markers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R539-R551
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Aging
  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Baroreflex sensitivity
  • Cardiovascular control
  • Heart rate variability
  • Postural challenge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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