Autonomic Cardiovascular Control in Children and Adolescents
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This thesis investigated the impact of pubertal maturation and sex on cardiovagal baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) and arterial properties of the common carotid artery (CCA), and the relationship between CCA arterial properties and BRS. This thesis also investigated the effect of orthostatic stress on arterial properties of the CCA and carotid sinus (CS), as well as their impact on BRS in response to orthostatic stress. Children and adolescents between the ages of 8-18 years were examined. To assess pubertal maturation participants were organized into five pubertal groups based on the criteria of Tanner. BRS was assessed by transfer function analysis in the low frequency range (0.05 – 0.15Hz). Pulse pressure (PP) was measured at the CCA (PPCCA) and CS (PPCS) using applanation tonometry, and at the finger (PPFinger) using photoplethysmography. Ultrasound sonography and applanation tonometry were used to determine the distensibility coefficient (DC) at the CCA (DCCCA) and CS (DCCS). A moderate posture stimulus was implemented by passively moving participants into a 50° seated-recumbent (SR) position. The results demonstrated a sex-by-maturation interaction on BRS (p= 0.019). BRS decreased from early- to post-puberty in males (p<0.01), and remained unchanged in females. Females demonstrated greater BRS compared to males post-puberty (p<0.05). CCA distensibility was not affected by sex or maturation and was not related to BRS. PPCS was greater than PPCCA (p<0.001), while PPFinger was greater than both PPCCA (p<0.001) and PPCS (p<0.001). In response to SR, the relative change in PPFinger was significantly different than the relative change in PPCCA (p<0.001) and PPCS (p<0.001), while the relative change between PPCCA and PPCS were not different. Finally, in response to SR there was a significant decrease in DCCS (p=0.001), but not DCCCA. The relative change in BRS in response to SR was significantly correlated to the relative change in DCCS (p=0.004), but not DCCCA. The findings demonstrated an important sex-dependent maturation effect on BRS in children and adolescents that was not explained by CCA distensibility. Also, the CS and CCA responded differently to orthostatic stress. The CS was more suitable to evaluate the effect of arterial distensibility on BRS in response to posture change.