Acta Vet. Brno 2006, 75: 3-12

Changes in Respiratory Rate, Blood Pressure and Heart Rate Variability in Rabbits during Orthostasis

J. Mokrý1, T. Remeňová2, K. Javorka2

1Department of Pharmacology, Jessenius Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University, Martin, Slovakia
2Department of Physiology, Jessenius Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University, Martin, Slovakia

Received November 8, 2005
Accepted March 16, 2006

The purpose of the study was to evaluate the changes of respiratory rate, systemic blood pressure and heart rate variability parameters (HRV) during orthostasis in anaesthetized rabbits. Furthermore, these changes were influenced by affecting the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone (RAA) system and autonomic nervous system (ANS) to study the mechanisms participating in activity of spectral frequency bands of HRV in rabbits. Ten adult rabbits (Chinchilla) were anaesthetized by ketamine and flunitrazepam. The systemic blood pressure, tidal volume and respiratory rate were measured. HRV was evaluated by microcomputer system VariaPulse TF3E. The R-R intervals were derived from the electrocardiogram signal from subcutaneous needle electrodes. The evaluation of HRV in very low (VLF; 0.01-0.05 Hz), low (LF; 0.05-0.15 Hz) and high frequency bands (HF; 0.15-2.0 Hz) was made and parameters of frequency and time analysis were calculated. The measurements were made in horizontal (supine) position, in orthostasis (the angle of 60 °) and again in supine position before and after enalapril (0.5 mg/kg b.w.), metipranolol (0.2 mg/kg b.w.), and after subsequent bilateral cervical vagotomy. The orthostasis in anaesthetized rabbits is accompanied by depression of respiratory rate reversed only by vagotomy. Furthermore, decrease of systemic blood pressure, unchanged heart rate and increased characteristics of heart rate variability were found, with predominant increase of spectral power in LF and VLF bands. This elevation can be eliminated only by complete blockade of ANS. Although the participation of ANS or RAA system in modification of individual HRV frequency bands is not as specific as in humans, we confirmed the participation of RAA system in determination of the VLF band.