Analysis of Heart Rate Variability During Focal Parasympathetic Drive of the Rat Baroreflex
2020-05-04T20:29:33Z (GMT) by
Autonomic control of the heart results in variations in the intervals between heart beats, known as heart rate variability. One of the defining components of autonomic control is the baroreflex, a negative feedback controller that balances heart rate and blood pressure. The baroreflex is under constant command from the branches of the autonomic nervous system. To better understand how the autonomic nervous system commands the baroreflex, a baroreflex reflexogenic animal protocol was carried out. Heart rate variability analysis and baroreflex sensitivity were used to quantify the neural control of the heart. This thesis reconfirmed the existence of sexually dimorphic properties in the baroreflex through the use of heart rate variability analysis and baroreflex sensitivity. It was discovered that there are many caveats to utilizing heart rate variability analysis, which have to be addressed both in the experimental protocol and the signal processing technique. Furthermore, it was suggested that the slope method for quantifying baroreflex sensitivity also has many caveats, and that other baroreflex sensitivity methods are likely more optimal for quantifying sustained activation of the baroreflex. By utilizing various heart rate variability signal processing algorithms to assess autonomic tone in Sprague-Dawley rats during rest and sustained electrical activation of the baroreflex, the null hypothesis was rejected.