Author(s): Stauss HM
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Abstract 1. Blood pressure and organ perfusion are controlled by a variety of cardiovascular control systems, such as the baroreceptor reflex and the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), and by local vascular mechanisms, such as shear stress-induced release of nitric oxide (NO) from the endothelium and the myogenic vascular response. Deviations in arterial blood pressure from its set point activate these mechanisms in an attempt to restore blood pressure and/or secure organ perfusion. However, the response times at which different cardiovascular mechanisms operate differ considerably (e.g. blood pressure control by the RAS is slower than blood pressure control via the baroreceptor reflex). 2. Owing to these different response times, some cardiovascular control systems affect blood pressure more rapidly and others more slowly. Thus, identifying the frequency components of blood pressure variability (BPV) by power spectral analysis can potentially provide important information on individual blood pressure control mechanisms. 3. Evidence is presented that the RAS, catecholamines, endothelial-derived NO and myogenic vascular function affect BPV at very low frequencies (0.02-0.2 Hz) and that low-frequency (LF) BPV (0.2-0.6 Hz) is affected by sympathetic modulation of vascular tone and endothelial-derived NO in rats. In humans, LF BPV (0.075-0.15 Hz) is affected by sympathetic modulation of vascular tone and myogenic vascular function. The impact of the RAS and endothelial-derived NO on BPV in humans requires further investigation. 4. In conclusion, power spectral analysis is a powerful diagnostic tool that allows identification of pathophysiological mechanisms contributing to cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension, heart failure and stroke, because it can separate slow from fast cardiovascular control mechanisms. The limitation that some cardiovascular control mechanisms affect the same frequency components of BPV requires the combination of blood pressure spectral analysis with other techniques.
This article was published in Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol
and referenced in Journal of Pulmonary & Respiratory Medicine