Phase relationship between normal human respiration and baroreflex responsiveness

J Physiol. 1980 Jul;304:489-502. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1980.sp013338.


1. We studied the influences of phase of respiration and breathing frequency upon human sinus node responses to arterial baroreceptor stimulation. 2. Carotid baroreceptors were stimulated with brief (0.6 sec), moderate (30 mmHg) neck suction during early, mid, and late inspiration or expiratin at usual breathing rates, or, during early inspiration and expiration at breathing rates of 3, 6, 12, and 24 breaths/min. 3. Baroreceptor stimuli applied during early and mid inspiration and late expiration provoked only minor sinus node inhibition; stimuli begun during late inspiration and early expiration provoked maximum sinus node inhibition. 4. At breathing rates of 3, 6 and 12 breaths/min, expiratory baroreflex responses were significantly greater than inspiratory responses; at 24 breaths/min, however, inspiratory and expiratory baroreceptor stimuli produced comparable degrees of sinus node inhibition. 5. Our results delineate an important central biological rhythm in normal man: human baroreflex responsiveness oscillates continuously during normal, quiet respiration. The phase shift of baroreflex responsiveness on respiration suggests that this interaction cannot be ascribed simply to gating synchronous with central inspiratory neurone activity. Regularization of heart rate during rapid breathing is associated with loss of the differential inspiratory-expiratory baroreflex responsiveness which is present at usual breathing rates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carotid Sinus / physiology
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pressoreceptors / physiology*
  • Reflex / physiology*
  • Respiration*
  • Sinoatrial Node / physiology
  • Tidal Volume