Cerebellar fastigial nuclei activity during blood pressure challenges

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2006 Aug;101(2):549-55. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00044.2006. Epub 2006 May 11.


The cerebellar fastigial nuclei (FN) assist in regulating compensatory responses to large blood pressure changes and show structural injury and functional impairment to cardiovascular challenges in syndromes with sleep-disordered breathing. The patterned time course of FN responses to elevation or lowering of blood pressure and location of responsive regions within the nuclei are unclear. We evaluated FN neural activity in six anesthetized rats using optical imaging procedures during elevation and lowering of arterial pressure by phenylephrine and nitroprusside, respectively. Hypertension diminished optical correlates of FN neural activity, while measures of activity increased to hypotension, with peak neural responses occurring 5-10 s later than peak blood pressure changes. Blood pressure responses were followed by heart rate changes, and peak respiratory rates developed even later, in close temporal proximity to FN activity patterns. Although overall topographical response trends were similar, regional patterns of altered neural activity appeared to both hypertension and hypotension. The extent of neural change was greater during recovery from hypertension than for hypotension at high-dose levels. Blood pressure levels saturated with increasing phenylephrine doses, while FN activity continued to decline. No saturation appeared in heart or respiratory rate trends. The findings suggest that the FN compensate for large blood pressure changes by sympathoexcitatory and inhibitory processes, which accompany late-developing somatic or respiratory adjustments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Cerebellar Nuclei / physiology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Hypotension / physiopathology*
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Nitroprusside / pharmacology
  • Phenylephrine / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Respiration
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Time Factors
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents / pharmacology
  • Vasodilator Agents / pharmacology


  • Vasoconstrictor Agents
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Nitroprusside
  • Phenylephrine