Scientific Reports (Jul 2020)

Cardio-postural interactions and muscle-pump baroreflex are severely impacted by 60-day bedrest immobilization

  • Da Xu,
  • Malcom F. Tremblay,
  • Ajay K. Verma,
  • Kouhyar Tavakolian,
  • Nandu Goswami,
  • Andrew P. Blaber

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10, no. 1
pp. 1 – 13


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Abstract To understand fundamental mechanisms associated with post-flight orthostatic intolerance we investigated the interaction between the cardiovascular and postural functions before and after 60 days of head down bedrest (HDBR). Twenty healthy young males (35.0 ± 1.7 years) were subjected to 60-day HDBR at 6˚ to simulate spaceflight-induced fluid shifts. A supine-to-stand (STS) test was conducted to evaluate cardio-postural control before and after (R) HDBR while an assessment of cardiovascular function was performed during HDBR. Beat-to-beat heart period, systolic blood pressure, and electromyography impulses were derived for wavelet transform coherence and causality analyses of the cardio-postural control and used to assess changes in the muscle-pump baroreflex. During quiet stand of the STS test, compared to baseline, heart rate was 50% higher on the day of exit from bedrest (R0) and 20% higher eight days later (R8). There was a 50% increase in deoxygenated hemoglobin on R0 and R8. Leg muscle activity reduced, and postural sway increased after HDBR. Causality of the muscle-pump baroreflex was reduced on R0 (0.73 ± 0.2) compared to baseline (0.87 ± 0.2) with complete recovery by R8. The muscle-pump baroreflex also had decreased gain and fraction time active following HDBR. Overall, our data show a significantly impaired muscle-pump baroreflex following bedrest.