Effect of standing on neurohumoral responses and plasma volume in healthy subjects

Giris Jacob, Andrew C. Ertl, John R. Shannon, Raffaello Furlan, Rose Marie Robertson, David Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Upright posture leads to rapid pooling of blood in the lower extremities and shifts plasma fluid into surrounding tissues. This results in a decrease in plasma volume (PV) and in hemoconcentration. There has been no integrative evaluation of concomitant neurohumoral and PV shifts with upright posture in normal subjects. We studied 10 healthy subjects after 3 days of stable Na+ and K+ intake. PV was assessed by the Evans blue dye method and by changes in hematocrit. Norepinephrine (NE), NE spillover, epinephrine (Epi), vasopressin, plasma renin activity, aldosterone, osmolarity, and kidney response expressed by urine osmolality and by Na+ and K+ excretion of the subjects in the supine and standing postures were all measured. We found that PV fell by 13% (375 ± 35 ml plasma) over ~14 min, after which time it remained relatively stable. There was a concomitant decrease in systolic blood pressure and an increase in heart rate that peaked at the time of maximal decrease in PV. Plasma Epi and NE increased rapidly to this point. Epi approached baseline by 20 min of standing. NE spillover increased 80% and clearance decreased 30% with 30 min of standing. The increase in plasma renin activity correlated with an increase in aldosterone. Vasopressin increased progressively, but there was no change in plasma osmolarity. The kidney response showed a significant decrease in Na+ and an increase in K+ excretion with upright posture. We conclude that a cascade of neurohumoral events occurs with upright posture, some of which particularly coincide with the decrease in PV. Plasma Epi levels may contribute to the increment in heart rate with maintained upright posture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)914-921
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1998


  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Blood pressure
  • Hypertension
  • Norepinephrine
  • Renin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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    Jacob, G., Ertl, A. C., Shannon, J. R., Furlan, R., Robertson, R. M., & Robertson, D. (1998). Effect of standing on neurohumoral responses and plasma volume in healthy subjects. Journal of Applied Physiology, 84(3), 914-921.