Arterial-cardiac baroreflex function: Insights from repeated squat-stand maneuvers

Rong Zhang, Jurgen A H R Claassen, Shigeki Shibata, Sinem Kilic, Kristin Martin-Cook, Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, Benjamin D. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


To assess baroreflex function under closed-loop conditions, a new approach was used to generate large and physiological perturbations in arterial pressure. Blood pressure (BP) and R-R interval were recorded continuously in 20 healthy young (33 ± 8 yr) and eight elderly subjects (66 ± 6 yr). Repeated squat-stand maneuvers at the frequencies of 0.05 and 0.1 Hz were performed to produce periodic oscillations in BP to provoke the baroreflex. To assess the effects of the muscle reflex and/or central command on the baroreflex, passive squat-stand maneuvers were conducted using a pulley system to assist changes in body position. Transfer function between changes in BP and R-R interval was estimated to assess the arterial-cardiac baroreflex. Relative to resting conditions, large and coherent oscillations in BP and R-R interval were produced during both active and passive squat-stand maneuvers. However, changes in BP were smaller during passive than during active maneuvers. Changes in R-R interval were reduced commensurately. Therefore, transfer function gain did not change between the two maneuvers. Compared with the young, transfer function gain was reduced and the phase became more negative in the elderly, demonstrating the well-known effects of aging on reducing baroreflex sensitivity. Collectively, these findings suggest that the changes in R-R interval elicited by BP perturbations during squat-stand maneuvers are mediated primarily by a baroreflex mechanism. Furthermore, baroreflex function can be assessed using the transfer function method during large perturbations in arterial pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R116-R123
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Spectral analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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