Heart rate and blood pressure changes during sleep-waking cycles and cataplexy in narcoleptic dogs.

TitleHeart rate and blood pressure changes during sleep-waking cycles and cataplexy in narcoleptic dogs.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1989
AuthorsSiegel JM, Tomaszewski KS, Fahringer H, Cave G, Kilduff T, Dement WC
JournalAm J Physiol
Issue1 Pt 2
Date Published1989 Jan
KeywordsAnimals, Blood Pressure, Cataplexy, Dog Diseases, Dogs, Female, Heart Rate, Male, Narcolepsy, Nitroprusside, Norepinephrine, Sleep

Cataplexy is the abrupt loss of muscle tone experienced by narcoleptics. It is usually precipitated by strong emotions or athletic activity. It has been hypothesized that cardiovascular variables have a role in the triggering of cataplexy. In the present study, we have utilized the narcoleptic canine model to directly investigate changes in heart rate and blood pressure in relation to cataplectic episodes. We found that heart rate increased 18% on average in the 20 s preceding cataplexy onset and then fell during cataplexy. Thus, from a cardiovascular standpoint, cataplexy can be subdivided into two very different periods, the cataplexy onset period with very high and declining heart rate, and the period greater than or equal to 10 s after onset, with greatly reduced heart rate. Heart rate at cataplexy onset was significantly higher than heart rate in rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep, non-REM sleep, and quiet waking. Blood pressure did not markedly change before the onset of spontaneous cataplexies but decreased significantly during cataplexy. Although blood pressure increases did not precede spontaneous cataplexies, sudden increases in blood pressure, induced pharmacologically or by obstruction of the descending aorta, triggered cataplexy in the most severely affected subjects. A hypothesized role for cataplexy as a homeostatic reflex, triggered by interactions between blood flow, central chemoreceptors, and atonia control mechanisms in the medial medulla, is discussed.

Alternate JournalAm J Physiol
PubMed ID2912173
Grant ListNS-1640 / NS / NINDS NIH HHS / United States
NS-23724 / NS / NINDS NIH HHS / United States