Prior studies investigating carotid baroreflex control of the cutaneous vasculature have yielded mixed findings. However, previously used methodological and analytical techniques may limit the ability to detect carotid baroreflex-mediated changes in cutaneous vascular conductance (CVC). The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that dynamic carotid baroreceptor stimulation (i.e. 5 s trials) using neck pressure (NP, simulated carotid hypotension) and neck suction (NS, simulated carotid hypertension) will decrease and increase CVC, respectively, during normothermic and whole-body heating conditions in resting humans. Data were obtained from nine subjects (age, 31 ± 2 year). The ratio of forearm skin blood flux (laser-Doppler flowmetry) and arterial blood pressure (Finapres) was used as an index of CVC. Multiple 5 s trials of NP (+40Torr) and NS (-60Torr), as well as breath-hold/airflow control trials, were applied during end-expiratory breath-holds while subjects were normotheric and heat stressed (change in core temperature ∼0.75°C). CVC responses to each NP and NS trial were averaged into 1 s intervals during the following periods: 3 s prestimulus, 5 s during stimulus, and 5 s poststimulus. Peak CVC responses (3 s average) to NP and NS were compared to prestimulus values using paired t test. During normothermia, NP decreased CVC by 0.032 ± 0.007 arbitrary units (a.u.) mmHg-1; (P < 0.05); however, breath-hold/airflow control trials resulted in similar decreases in CVC. NS did not change CVC (Δ=0.002 ± 0.005 a.u. mmHg-1; P = 0.63). During whole-body heating, NP decreased CVC (by 0.16 ± 0.04 a.u. mmHg-1; (P < 0.05), whereas NS increased CVC by 0.07 ± 0.03 a.u. mmHg-1; (P < 0.05). Furthermore, these changes were greater than, or directionally different from, the breath-hold/airflow control trials. These findings indicate that carotid baroreceptor stimulation elicits dynamic changes in CVC and that these changes are more apparent during whole-body heating.
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