Environmental stress and vestibular inputs modulate cardiovascular responses to orthostasis in hypertensive rats

Gábor Raffai, Csongor Cseko, G. Nádasy, László Kocsis, László Dézsi, Stephen N. Hunyor, E. Monos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


The frequent accompaniment of hypertension by orthostatic circulatory disorders prompted us to investigate the effect of repeated and sustained head-up and head-down tilt positions on cardiovascular responses in spontaneously hypertensive rats vs. Wistar rats using radiotelemetric implants. Repeated orthostasis caused a transient elevation in blood pressure (7.3±1.7 mmHg) and heart rate (39.7±10.5 BPM), while repeated antiorthostasis led only to reversible tachycardia (85.6±11.7- 54.3±16.8 BPM) in spontaneously hypertensive rats. In contrast to the Wistar rats, sustained tilt failed to affect the blood pressure or heart rate in spontaneously hypertensive rats because the environmental stress of being placed in horizontal tilt cages prior to the sustained tilt test induced marked changes in cardiovascular parameters. Non-specific stress responses were eliminated both by the anxiolytic diazepam and a sub-anesthetic dose of chloralose. Unlike diazepam, chloralose amplified the orthostatic pressor responses in the Wistar rats. In contrast to diazepam preventing the pressor response and associated tachycardia in spontaneously hypertensive rats, chloralose elicited this effect during both sustained orthostasis (36.0±7.3 mmHg, 63.7±21.8 BPM) and antiorthostasis (42.9±10.9 mmHg, 82.8±25.4 BPM), with a reduced baroreflex sensitivity. However, during sustained orthostasis, removal of the vestibular input led to a depressor response with bradycardia (12.5±3.2 mmHg, 59.3±17.3 BPM), whereas antiorthostasis only reduced blood pressure (20.5±7.1 mmHg) in the spontaneously hypertensive rats. We conclude that repeated tilts induce a transient pressor response and/or tachycardia in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Cardiovascular parameters are suppressed by diazepam, whereas chloralose evokes both blood pressure and heart rate responses during sustained tilts, which are primarily elicited by baroreflex suppression in hypertension. Vestibular inputs support cardiovascular tolerance to sustained postural changes in a rat model of human 'essential' hypertension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-26
Number of pages9
JournalHypertension Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018



  • Non-specific stressors
  • Orthostatic tolerance
  • Tilt effect
  • Vestibular system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Cite this