Sympathoadrenal-circulatory regulation of arterial pressure during orthostatic stress in young and older men

J. A. Taylor, G. A. Hand, D. G. Johnson, D. R. Seals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Our purpose was to test the hypothesis that human aging alters sympathoadrenal-circulatory control of arterial blood pressure during orthostasis. Plasma catecholamine and hemodynamic adjustments to two different forms of orthostatic stress, lower body suction (-10 to -50 mmHg) and standing, were determined in 14 young (26 ± 1 yr) and 13 older (64 ± 1) healthy, normally active men. During quiet supine rest, cardiac output tended to be lower and systemic vascular resistance higher in the older men, but no other differences were observed. On average, arterial blood pressure was well maintained during both forms of orthostasis in the two groups; the older men actually demonstrated better maintenance of pressure (P < 0.05) and a lesser incidence of orthostatic hypotension than the young men during lower body suction. Despite a blunted reflex tachycardia during orthostatic stress (P < 0.05), cardiac output tended to decrease less in the older men because of a smaller decline in stroke volume (P < 0.05, suction only), whereas the reflex increases in systemic vascular resistance were not different in the two groups. The whole forearm vasoconstrictor response tended to be attenuated in the older men during lower body suction, but was identical in the two groups with standing. Forearm skin vascular resistance was unaltered during lower body suction in both groups. Orthostasis-evoked increases in antecubital venous plasma norepinephrine concentrations were similar in the young and older men, whereas little or no increases in plasma epinephrine concentrations were observed in either group. These findings suggest that aging per se has little direct effect on sympathetic-circulatory regulation of arterial blood pressure during orthostasis in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1147-R1155
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5 32-5
StatePublished - 1992


  • aging
  • autonomic nervous system
  • hemodynamics
  • orthostasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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