Background: Attacks of Hereditary Angioedema due to C1-inhibitor deficiency (C1-INH-HAE)are often triggered by stressful events/hormonal changes. Objective: Our study evaluates the relationship between autonomic nervous system (ANS) and contact/complement system activation. Methods: Twenty-three HAE patients (6 males, mean age 47.5±11.4 years) during remission and 24 healthy controls (8 males, mean age 45.3±10.6 years) were studied. ECG, beat-by-beat blood pressure, respiratory activity were continuously recorded during rest (10’) and 75-degrees-head-up tilt (10’). C1-INH, C4, cleaved high molecular weight kininogen (cHK) were assessed; in 16 patients and 11 controls plasma catecholamines were also evaluated. Spectral analysis of heart rate variability allowed extraction of low-(LF) and high-(HF) frequency components, markers of sympathetic and vagal modulation respectively. Results: HAE patients showed higher mean systolic arterial pressure (SAP) than controls during both rest and tilt. Tilt induced a significant increase in SAP and its variability only in controls. Although sympathetic modulation (LFnu) increased significantly with tilt in both groups, LF/ HF ratio, index of sympathovagal balance, increased significantly only in controls. At rest HAE patients showed higher noradrenaline values (301.4±132.9 pg/ml vs 210.5 ±89.6pg/ml, p = 0.05). Moreover, in patients tilt was associated with a significant increase in cHK, marker of contact system activation (49.5 ± 7.5% after T vs 47.1 ± 7.8% at R, p = 0.01). Conclusions: Our data are consistent with altered ANS modulation in HAE patients, i.e. increased sympathetic activation at rest and blunted response to orthostatic challenge. Tilt test-induced increased HK cleavage suggests a link between stress and bradykinin production.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)