Morning sympathetic activity after evening binge alcohol consumption

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Department of Biomedical Engineering; Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology; Department of Biological Sciences


Binge alcohol consumption elicits acute and robust increases of muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA), yet the impact of evening binge drinking on morning-after MSNA is unknown. The present study examined the effects of evening binge alcohol consumption on polysomnographic sleep and morning-after MSNA. We hypothesized that evening binge drinking (i.e. 4-5 drink equivalent in <2 >h) would reduce sleep quality and increase morning-after blood pressure (BP) and MSNA. Following a familiarization night within the sleep laboratory, 22 participants (12 men, 10 women; 25 ± 1 yr) were examined after simulated binge drinking or fluid control (randomized, crossover design). Morning MSNA was successfully recorded across both conditions in 16 participants (8 men, 8 women) during a 10-min baseline and three Valsalva's maneuvers (VM). Binge drinking reduced rapid eye movement (REM) sleep (15 ± 1 vs. 20 ± 1%, P = 0.003), increased stage II sleep (54 ± 1 vs. 51 ± 1%, P = 0.002), and increased total urine output (2.9 ± 0.2 vs. 2.1 ± 0.1 liters, P < 0.001) but did not alter morning-after urine specific gravity. Binge drinking increased morning-after heart rate [65 (54-72) vs. 58 (51-67) beats/min, P = 0.013] but not resting BP or MSNA. Binge drinking elicited greater sympathoexcitation during VM (38 ± 3 vs. 43 ± 3 bursts/min, P = 0.036). Binge drinking augmented heart rate (P = 0.002), systolic BP (P = 0.022), and diastolic BP (P = 0.037) reactivity to VM phase IV and blunted cardiovagal baroreflex sensitivity during VM phases II (P = 0.028) and IV (P = 0.043). In conclusion, evening binge alcohol consumption disrupted REM sleep and morning-after autonomic function. These findings provide new mechanistic insight into the potential role of binge drinking on cardiovascular risk.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Chronic binge alcohol consumption is associated with future cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in both men and women. In addition, binge alcohol consumption is known to disrupt normal sleep quality during the early morning hours, coinciding with the morning sympathetic surge. In the present study, an evening of binge alcohol consumption increased baseline morning heart rate and cardiovascular reactivity during the Valsalva maneuver (VM) strain. Specifically, muscle sympathetic nerve activity and phase IV hemodynamic responses increased during VM the morning after binge alcohol consumption. The autonomic dysfunction and increased cardiovascular reactivity during VM suggests a contributing mechanism to CVD risk present in individuals who binge drink.

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American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology