The present study was performed to determine how sympathetic function is altered by simulated microgravity, dry immersion for 3 days, and to elucidate the mechanism of post-spaceflight orthostatic intolerance in humans. Six healthy men aged 21-36 years old participated in the study. Before and after the dry immersion, subjects performed head-up tilt (HUT) test to 30°and 60° (5 min each) with recordings of muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA, by microneurography), electrocardiogram, and arterial blood pressure (Finapres). Resting MSNA was increased after dry immersion from 23.7±3.2 to 40.9±3.0 bursts/min (p<0.005) without significant changes in resting heart rate (HR). MSNA responsiveness to orthostasis showed no significant difference but HR response was significantly augmented after dry immersion (p<0.005). A significant diastolic blood pressure fall at 5th min of 60°HUT was observed in five orthostatic tolerant subjects despite enough MSNA discharge after dry immersion. A subject suffered from presyncope at 2 min after 60°HUT. He showed gradual blood pressure fall 10 s after 60°HUT with initially well-maintained MSNA response and then with a gradually attenuated MSNA, followed by a sudden MSNA withdrawal and abrupt blood pressure drop. In conclusion, dry immersion increased MSNA without changing MSNA response to orthostasis, and resting HR, while increasing the HR response to orthostasis. Analyses of MSNA and blood pressure changes in orthostatic tolerant subjects and a subject with presyncope suggested that not only insufficient vasoconstriction to sympathetic stimuli, but also a central mechanism to induce a sympathetic withdrawal might play a role in the development of orthostatic intolerance after microgravity exposure. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
- Head-up tilt
- Muscle sympathetic nerve activity
- Orthostatic intolerance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology