Comparison of Autonomic Control of Blood Pressure During Standing and Artificial Gravity Induced via Short-Arm Human Centrifuge

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Verma AK, Xu D, Bruner M, Garg A, Goswami N, Blaber AP and Tavakolian K (2018) Comparison of Autonomic Control of Blood Pressure During Standing and Artificial Gravity Induced via Short-Arm Human Centrifuge. Front. Physiol. 9:712. DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00712.

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Artificial gravity
Blood pressure regulation
Orthostatic intolerance
Short-arm human centrifuge
Long duration spaceflight
Cardiovascular deconditioning

Autonomic control of blood pressure is essential toward maintenance of cerebral perfusion during standing, failure of which could lead to fainting. Long-term exposure to microgravity deteriorates autonomic control of blood pressure. Consequently, astronauts experience orthostatic intolerance on their return to gravitational environment. Ground-based studies suggest sporadic training in artificial hypergravity can mitigate spaceflight deconditioning. In this regard, short-arm human centrifuge (SAHC), capable of creating artificial hypergravity of different g-loads, provides an auspicious training tool. Here, we compare autonomic control of blood pressure during centrifugation creating 1-g and 2-g at feet with standing in natural gravity. Continuous blood pressure was acquired simultaneously from 13 healthy participants during supine baseline, standing, supine recovery, centrifugation of 1-g, and 2-g, from which heart rate (RR) and systolic blood pressure (SBP) were derived. The autonomic blood pressure regulation was assessed via spectral analysis of RR and SBP, spontaneous baroreflex sensitivity, and non-linear heart rate and blood pressure causality (RR↔SBP). While majority of these blood pressure regulatory indices were significantly different (p < 0.05) during standing and 2-g centrifugation compared to baseline, no change (p > 0.05) was observed in the same indices during 2-g centrifugation compared to standing. The findings of the study highlight the capability of artificial gravity (2-g at feet) created via SAHC toward evoking blood pressure regulatory controls analogous to standing, therefore, a potential utility toward mitigating deleterious effects of microgravity on cardiovascular performance and minimizing post-flight orthostatic intolerance in astronauts.

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