The arterial baroreflex is a closed-loop, negative feedback control system that senses baroreceptor pressure and controls systemic arterial pressure (AP) to attenuate perturbations in AP. The total arc of the baroreflex consists of two subsystems: the neural (baroreceptor pressure input to sympathetic nerve activity (SNA)) and peripheral (SNA input to AP) arcs. We show that although the spontaneous baroreflex transfer function obtained by closed-loop analysis has been believed to represent the neural arc function, it is inappropriate for system identification of the neural arc but is essentially appropriate for the peripheral arc under resting condition, when compared with open-loop transfer functions that have good predictabilities of time-series output dynamics from input signals. Our results indicate that in the spontaneous baroreflex system under closed-loop conditions, the peripheral arc (feedforward) function predominates over the neural arc (feedback) function, probably because of the SNA component that is independent of the baroreceptor pressure input. Abstract Although the dynamic characteristics of the baroreflex system have been described by baroreflex transfer functions obtained from open-loop analysis, the predictability of time-series output dynamics from input signals, which should confirm the accuracy of system identification, remains to be elucidated. Moreover, despite theoretical concerns over closed-loop system identification, the accuracy and the predictability of the closed-loop spontaneous baroreflex transfer function have not been evaluated compared with the open-loop transfer function. Using urethane and α-chloralose anaesthetized, vagotomized and aortic-denervated rabbits (n= 10), we identified open-loop baroreflex transfer functions by recording renal sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) while varying the vascularly isolated intracarotid sinus pressure (CSP) according to a binary random (white-noise) sequence (operating pressure ± 20 mmHg), and using a simplified equation to calculate closed-loop-spontaneous baroreflex transfer function while matching CSP with systemic arterial pressure (AP). Our results showed that the open-loop baroreflex transfer functions for the neural and peripheral arcs predicted the time-series SNA and AP outputs from measured CSP and SNA inputs, with r2 of 0.8 ± 0.1 and 0.8 ± 0.1, respectively. In contrast, the closed-loop-spontaneous baroreflex transfer function for the neural arc was markedly different from the open-loop transfer function (enhanced gain increase and a phase lead), and did not predict the time-series SNA dynamics (r2; 0.1 ± 0.1). However, the closed-loop-spontaneous baroreflex transfer function of the peripheral arc partially matched the open-loop transfer function in gain and phase functions, and had limited but reasonable predictability of the time-series AP dynamics (r2, 0.7 ± 0.1). A numerical simulation suggested that a noise predominantly in the neural arc under resting conditions might be a possible mechanism responsible for our findings. Furthermore, the predictabilities of the neural arc transfer functions obtained in open-loop and closed-loop conditions were validated by closed-loop pharmacological (phenylephrine and nitroprusside infusions) pressure interventions. Time-series SNA responses to drug-induced AP changes predicted by the open-loop transfer function matched closely the measured responses (r2, 0.9 ± 0.1), whereas SNA responses predicted by closed-loop-spontaneous transfer function deviated greatly and were the inverse of measured responses (r, -0.8 ± 0.2). These results indicate that although the spontaneous baroreflex transfer function obtained by closed-loop analysis has been believed to represent the neural arc function, it is inappropriate for system identification of the neural arc but is essentially appropriate for the peripheral arc under resting conditions, when compared with open-loop analysis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas