Baroreflex sensitivity inversely correlates with ambulatory blood pressure in healthy normotensive humans

Christiane Hesse, Nisha Charkoudian, Zhong Liu, Michael J. Joyner, John H. Eisenach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Patients with hypertension have a blunted sensitivity of baroreflex control of heart period. In these patients, baroreflex sensitivity is positively related to heart rate variability and inversely related to blood pressure variability. We hypothesized that this relationship would also be evident in healthy normotensive subjects and that individuals with higher baroreflex sensitivity would have lower ambulatory 24-hour blood pressure. Twenty-four-hour ambulatory blood pressure and heart rate were recorded in 50 healthy, normotensive, nonobese individuals (31 women and 19 men). The baroreflex was assessed using sequential bolus administration of sodium nitroprusside and phenylephrine, and baroreflex sensitivity was calculated as the slope of the relation between systolic blood pressure and R-R interval during the resulting blood pressure transients. Baroreflex sensitivity was inversely correlated to 24-hour average mean arterial pressure (R=0.49; P<0.001) and positively related to daytime heart rate variability (R=0.33; P=0.02). In contrast, no relationship was found between baroreflex sensitivity and 24-hour heart rate or blood pressure variabilities. We conclude that the relationship between baroreflex sensitivity and daytime heart rate variability was similar to that reported previously in hypertensive subjects. Furthermore, the inverse relation between baroreflex sensitivity and mean arterial pressure supports the idea that the baroreflex may exert longer-term effects on blood pressure than thought previously.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-46
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
  • Baroreflex
  • Blood pressure variability
  • Heart rate variability
  • Normotension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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