Impaired sympathetic neural recruitment during exercise pressor reflex activation in women with post-traumatic stress disorder

Andrew W. D’Souza, Jeung Ki Yoo, Ryosuke Takeda, Mark B. Badrov, Elizabeth H. Anderson, Jessica I. Wiblin, Carol S North, Alina M Suris, Michael D. Nelson, J. Kevin Shoemaker, Qi Fu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) increases during isometric exercise via increased firing of low-threshold action potentials (AP), recruitment of larger, higher-threshold APs, and synaptic delay modifications. Recent work found that women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) demonstrate exaggerated early-onset MSNA responses to exercise; however, it is unclear how PTSD affects AP recruitment patterns during fatiguing exercise. We hypothesized that women with PTSD (n = 11, 43 [11] [SD] years) would exhibit exaggerated sympathetic neural recruitment compared to women without PTSD (controls; n = 13, 40 [8] years). MSNA and AP discharge patterns (via microneurography and a continuous wavelet transform) were measured during 1 min of baseline, isometric handgrip exercise (IHG) to fatigue, 2 min of post-exercise circulatory occlusion (PECO), and 3 min of recovery. Women with PTSD were unable to increase AP content per burst compared to controls throughout IHG and PECO (main effect of group: P = 0.026). Furthermore, relative to controls, women with PTSD recruited fewer AP clusters per burst during the first (controls: ∆1.3 [1.2] vs. PTSD: ∆−0.2 [0.8]; P = 0.016) and second minute (controls: ∆1.2 [1.1] vs. PTSD: ∆−0.1 [0.8]; P = 0.022) of PECO, and fewer subpopulations of larger, previously silent axons during the first (controls: ∆5 [4] vs. PTSD: ∆1 [2]; P = 0.020) and second minute (controls: ∆4 [2] vs. PTSD: ∆1 [2]; P = 0.021) of PECO. Conversely, PTSD did not modify the AP cluster size–latency relationship during baseline, the end of IHG, or PECO (all P = 0.658–0.745). Collectively, these data indicate that women with PTSD demonstrate inherent impairments in the fundamental neural coding patterns elicited by the sympathetic nervous system during IHG and exercise pressor reflex activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalClinical Autonomic Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Action potentials
  • Metaboreflex
  • Microneurography
  • Muscle sympathetic nerve activity
  • PTSD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Clinical Neurology

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