Role of the ovarian cycle on neural cardiovascular control in sleep-deprived women

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The midluteal (ML) phase of the ovarian cycle is often sympathoexcitatory compared with the early follicular (EF) phase. We recently reported that 24-h total sleep deprivation (TSD) augmented cardiovascular reactivity in both men and women, but that sex differences existed in resting muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) responses to TSD. In the present study, we hypothesized increased resting MSNA and augmented cardiovascular reactivity to acute laboratory stressors during the ML phase in sleep-deprived women. Heart rate (HR), mean arterial pressure (MAP), forearm vascular conductance (FVC), and MSNA were measured in 14 eumenorrheic women (age, 20 ± 1 yr) during 10 min supine rest, 5 min mental stress (MS) trial, and 2 min cold pressor test (CPT) trial. Subjects were tested twice after TSD: once during EF phase and once during ML phase (randomized, crossover design). Estradiol (29 ± 2 vs. 63 ± 8 pg/ml, P = 0.001) and progesterone (1.6 ± 0.2 vs. 4.4 ± 0.7 ng/ml, P = 0.002) were elevated during the ML phase. Resting supine MAP (75 ± 2 vs. 72 ± 1 mmHg, P = 0.042) was lower during the ML phase. In contrast, resting supine HR, MSNA, and FVC were not significantly different between EF and ML phases. MAP, HR and FVC reactivity to MS were not statistically different between the EF and ML phases. Similarly, MAP and HR reactivity to CPT were not different between the ovarian phases. Contrary to our original hypothesis, the ML phase was not associated with sympathoexcitation or exaggerated cardiovascular reactivity in sleep-deprived premenopausal women. However, our data reveal elevated resting blood pressure during the EF phase in sleep-deprived women.

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© 2015 the American Physiological Society. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00626.2014

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Applied Physiology