Environ Med 1997 Dec;41(2):141-4
Department of Autonomic Neuroscience, Nagoya University, Japan.
The aim of this study was to clarify how muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) in humans, which plays an important role in blood pressure control against gravity, is altered under microgravity conditions. Subjects were seated in a jet aircraft with their legs extended. MSNA was recorded microneurographically from the tibial nerve of the sitting subjects with simultaneous monitoring of electrocardiogram, blood pressure, respiration, and intrathoracic blood volume during parabolic flights. In the Air Force training area, the aircraft made parabolas up to 10 times. At the entry to microgravity, intrathoracic blood volume increased, systemic blood pressure was elevated, and MSNA was suppressed. However, this MSNA suppression lasted only 10-15 sec, and then followed by an enhancement to the end of the parabolas. We conclude that MSNA is suppressed at the onset of microgravity during parabolic flight in response to loading of the cardiopulmonary volume receptor due to a cephalad body fluid shift. However, this MSNA suppression is transient during such dynamic gravitational changes as those induced by parabolic flight, probably modulated by arterial baroreceptors.