Seasonal Variations in Heart Rate Variability as an Indicator of Stress in Free-Ranging Pregnant Przewalski's Horses (E. ferus przewalskii) within the Hortobagy National Park in Hungary.
ABSTRACT: Background: Ecosystems with seasonal fluctuations in climate and food availability present physiological challenges to resident mammals and may cause "stress." The two predominant physiological responses to stressors are (1) the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and (2) the modulation of the autonomic nervous system. To date, the primary indicator for "stress" in wildlife- and zoo animal research are glucocorticoid levels. By measuring the autonomic regulation of cardiac activity, particularly the vagal tone, heart rate variability (HRV) is presently emerging as a suitable indicator of "stress" in farm- and domestic animal research. Objective: The aim of this study was to use HRV, a novel method in wildlife research, to assess seasonal patterns of "stress" in a group of free-ranging Przewalski's horses (Equus ferus przewalskii). Methods: Six pregnant Przewalski's horses from one harem within the Hortobágy National Park in Hungary were subjected to the study. We used a dedicated telemetry system consisting of a subcutaneously implanted transmitter and a receiver and storage unit in a collar to record HRV, heart rate (HR), subcutaneous body temperature, and activity throughout a one-year study period-climate data was also collected. We defined "stress" as a decrease in parasympathetic nervous system tone and calculated RMSSD (root mean square of successive differences) as a measure of HRV. Linear mixed effects models with random intercept per individual were used for statistical analysis. Results: HRV and HR varied considerably throughout the year. Similar to temperate ruminants and hibernating mammals, Przewalski's horses experienced lower HR and HRV during winter, when resources are limited indicating decreased metabolic rates coupled with "stress." In spring, we observed a drop of HRV along with a peak in HR indicating an increase of allostatic load that is most likely associated with increased energy demands during pregnancy and/or seasonal routines such as the adjustment of the gastrointestinal system to better quality diet. Conclusion: Measuring telemetric HRV is a proven method to study undisturbed reactions of wild animals to their changing environment over the long term. Przewalski's horses experience a loss of complexity in cardiovascular dynamics over the winter and particularly during spring, indicating seasonal "stress."
Project description:Short sleep duration and poor sleep quality are associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes. Potential pathophysiological mechanisms include sleep-associated alterations in the autonomic nervous system. The objective of this study was to examine the associations of shorter sleep duration and poorer sleep quality with markers of autonomic tone: heart rate (HR), high-frequency HR variability (HF-HRV) and salivary amylase.Cross-sectional analysis of data from actigraphy-based measures of sleep duration and efficiency and responses to a challenge protocol obtained from 527 adult participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.Participants who slept fewer than 6 h per night (compared to those who slept 7 h or more per night) had higher baseline HR (fully adjusted model 0.05 log beats/min, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.01, 0.09) and greater HR orthostatic reactivity (fully adjusted model 0.02 log beats/min, 95% CI 0.002, 0.023). Participants who slept 6 to less than 7 h/night (compared to those who slept 7 h or more per night) had lower baseline HF-HRV (fully adjusted model -0.31 log msec2, 95% CI -0.60, -0.14). Participants with low sleep efficiency had lower baseline HF-HRV than those with higher sleep efficiency (fully adjusted model -0.59 log msec2, 95% CI -1.03, -0.15). Participants with low sleep efficiency had higher baseline levels of amylase than those with higher sleep efficiency (fully adjusted model 0.45 log U/mL, 95% CI 0.04, 0.86).Short sleep duration, low sleep efficiency, and insomnia combined with short sleep duration were associated with markers of autonomic tone that indicate lower levels of cardiac parasympathetic (vagal) tone and/or higher levels of sympathetic tone.
Project description:Most experimental studies on animal stress physiology have focused on acute stress, while chronic stress, which is also encountered in intensive dairy cattle farming--e.g. in case of lameness--, has received little attention. We investigated heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) as indicators of the autonomic nervous system activity and fecal glucocorticoid concentrations as the indicator of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity in lame (with locomotion scores 4 and 5; n = 51) and non-lame (with locomotion scores 1 and 2; n = 52) Holstein-Friesian cows. Data recorded during the periods of undisturbed lying--representing baseline cardiac activity--were involved in the analysis. Besides linear analysis methods of the cardiac inter-beat interval (time-domain geometric, frequency domain and Poincaré analyses) non-linear HRV parameters were also evaluated. With the exception of standard deviation 1 (SD1), all HRV indices were affected by lameness. Heart rate was lower in lame cows than in non-lame ones. Vagal tone parameters were higher in lame cows than in non-lame animals, while indices of the sympathovagal balance reflected on a decreased sympathetic activity in lame cows. All geometric and non-linear HRV measures were lower in lame cows compared to non-lame ones suggesting that chronic stress influenced linear and non-linear characteristics of cardiac function. Lameness had no effect on fecal glucocorticoid concentrations. Our results demonstrate that HRV analysis is a reliable method in the assessment of chronic stress, however, it requires further studies to fully understand the elevated parasympathetic and decreased sympathetic tone in lame animals.
Project description:Most exercise studies in mice have relied on forced training which can introduce psychological stress. Consequently, the utility of mouse models for understanding exercise-mediated effects in humans, particularly autonomic nervous system (ANS) remodeling, have been challenged. We compared the effects of voluntary free-wheel running vs. non-voluntary swimming on heart function in mice with a focus on the regulation of heart rate (HR) by the ANS. Under conditions where the total excess O2 consumption associated with exercise was comparable, the two exercise models led to similar improvements in ventricular function as well as comparable reductions in HR and its control by parasympathetic nervous activity (PNA) and sympathetic nervous activity (SNA), compared to sedentary mice. Both exercise models also increased HR variability (HRV) by similar amounts, independent of HR reductions. In all mice, HRV depended primarily on PNA, with SNA weakly affecting HRV at low frequencies. The differences in both HR and HRV between exercised vs. sedentary mice were eliminated by autonomic blockade, consistent with the similar intrinsic beating rates observed in atria isolated from exercised vs. sedentary mice. In conclusion, both forced and voluntary exercise induce comparable ventricular physiological remodeling as well as HR reductions and HR-independent enhancements of HRV which were both primarily dependent on increased PNA. New and noteworthy:-No previous mouse studies have compared the effects of forced and voluntary exercise on the heart function and its modulation by the autonomic nervous system (ANS).-Both voluntary free-wheel running and forced swimming induced similar improvements in ventricular contractile function, reductions in heart rate (HR) and enhancements of HR variability (HRV).-HR regulation in exercised mice was linked to increased parasympathetic nerve activity and reduced sympathetic nerve activity.- HRV was independent of HR and depended primarily on PNA in both exercised and sedentary mice.- Complete cardiac autonomic blockade eliminated differences in both HR and HRV between exercised and sedentary mice.
Project description:Heart rate variability (HRV) is reduced in stable ischemic heart disease (SIHD) patients and is associated with sudden cardiac death (SCD). We evaluated the impact of traditional acupuncture (TA) on cardiac autonomic function measured by HRV in SIHD patients.We conducted a randomized controlled study of TA, sham acupuncture (SA), and waiting control (WC) in 151 SIHD subjects. The TA group received needle insertion at acupuncture sites, the SA group received a sham at non-acupuncture sites, while the WC group received nothing. The TA and SA groups received 3 treatments/week for 12 weeks. 24-Hour, mental arithmetic stress, and cold pressor (COP) HRV was collected at entry and exit, along with BP, lipids, insulin resistance, hs-CRP, salivary cortisol, peripheral endothelial function by tonometry (PAT), and psychosocial variables.Mean age was 63 ± 10; 50% had prior myocardial infarction. Comparison of WC and SA groups demonstrated differences consistent with the unblinded WC status; therefore by design, the control groups were not merged. Exit mental stress HRV was higher in TA vs. SA for markers of parasympathetic tone (p ? 0.025), including a 17% higher vagal activity (p=0.008). There were no differences in exit 24-hour or COP HRV, BP, lipids, insulin resistance, hs-CRP, salivary cortisol, PAT, or psychosocial variables.TA results in intermediate effects on autonomic function in SIHD patients. TA effect on HRV may be clinically relevant and should be explored further. These data document feasibility and provide sample size estimation for a clinical trial of TA in SIHD patients for the prevention of SCD.We conducted a randomized, single-blind trial of traditional acupuncture (TA) vs. sham acupuncture (SA) vs waiting control (WC) in stable ischemic heart disease (SIHD) patients to evaluate cardiac autonomic function measured by heart rate variability (HRV). Exit mental stress HRV was higher in the TA compared to SA group for time and frequency domain markers of parasympathetic tone (all p ? 0.025), including a 17% higher vagal activity (p=0.008). These data document feasibility and provide sample size estimation for an outcome-based clinical trial of TA in SIHD patients for the prevention of sudden cardiac death.
Project description:The endangered Przewalski's horse is the closest relative of the domestic horse and is the only true wild horse species surviving today. The question of whether Przewalski's horse is the direct progenitor of domestic horse has been hotly debated. Studies of DNA diversity within Przewalski's horses have been sparse but are urgently needed to ensure their successful reintroduction to the wild. In an attempt to resolve the controversy surrounding the phylogenetic position and genetic diversity of Przewalski's horses, we used massively parallel sequencing technology to decipher the complete mitochondrial and partial nuclear genomes for all four surviving maternal lineages of Przewalski's horses. Unlike single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) typing usually affected by ascertainment bias, the present method is expected to be largely unbiased. Three mitochondrial haplotypes were discovered-two similar ones, haplotypes I/II, and one substantially divergent from the other two, haplotype III. Haplotypes I/II versus III did not cluster together on a phylogenetic tree, rejecting the monophyly of Przewalski's horse maternal lineages, and were estimated to split 0.117-0.186 Ma, significantly preceding horse domestication. In the phylogeny based on autosomal sequences, Przewalski's horses formed a monophyletic clade, separate from the Thoroughbred domestic horse lineage. Our results suggest that Przewalski's horses have ancient origins and are not the direct progenitors of domestic horses. The analysis of the vast amount of sequence data presented here suggests that Przewalski's and domestic horse lineages diverged at least 0.117 Ma but since then have retained ancestral genetic polymorphism and/or experienced gene flow.
Project description:Dialysis patients and patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) experience a substantial risk for abnormal autonomic function and abnormal heart rate variability (HRV). It remains unknown whether HRV changes across sleep stages in patients with different severity of CKD or dialysis dependency. We hypothesized that high-frequency (HF) HRV (vagal tone) will be attenuated from wakefulness to non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and then to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in dialysis patients as compared to patients with CKD.In-home polysomnography was performed in 95 patients with stages 4-5 CKD or end-stage renal disease (ESRD) on haemodialysis (HD) or peritoneal dialysis (PD). HRV was measured using fast Fourier transform of interbeat intervals during wakefulness and sleep. Low-frequency (LF) and HF intervals were generated. Natural logarithm HF (LNHF) and the logarithm LF/HF ratio (sympathovagal tone) were analysed by multivariable quantile regression and generalized estimating equations.Of the 95 patients, 63.2% (n = 60) was male, 35.8% (n = 34) was African American and 20.4% (n = 19) was diabetic. Average age was 51.6 ± 15.1 (range 19-82). HRV variables were significantly associated with diabetic status, higher periodic limb movement indices and lower bicarbonate levels. Patients with advanced CKD did not differ from dialysis patients in their inability to increase vagal tone during sleep. During wakefulness, female gender (P = 0.05) was associated with the increases in the vagal tone.Patients with CKD/ESRD exhibit dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system tone manifesting as a failure to increase HRV during wakefulness and sleep. Different patient characteristics are associated with changes in HRV at different sleep stages.
Project description:AIMS:Cardiac autonomic dysfunction is a serious complication of diabetes. One consequence is disruption of the normal beat-to-beat regulation of heart rate (HR), i.e. HR variability (HRV). However, our understanding of the disease process has been limited by inconsistent HR/HRV data from previous animal studies. We hypothesized that differences in the method of measurement, time of day, and level of stress account for the differing results across studies. Thus, our aim was to systematically assess HR and HRV in two common diabetic mouse models. METHODS:ECG radiotelemetry devices were implanted into db/db (type-2 diabetic), STZ-treated db/+ (type-1 diabetic), and control db/+ mice (n=4 per group). HR and HRV were analyzed over 24 h and during treadmill testing. RESULTS:24 h analysis revealed that db/db mice had an altered pattern of circadian HR changes, and STZ-treated mice had reduced HR throughout. HRV measures linked to sympathetic control were reduced in db/db mice in the early morning and early afternoon, and partially reduced in STZ-treated mice. HR response to treadmill testing was blunted in both models. CONCLUSIONS:It is important to consider both time of day and level of stress when assessing HR and HRV in diabetic mice. db/db mice may have altered circadian rhythm of sympathetic control of HR, whereas STZ-treated mice have a relative reduction. This study provides baseline data and a framework for HR analysis that may guide future investigations.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The autonomic nervous system plays a key role in maintaining homeostasis and responding to external stimuli. In adults, exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) has been associated with reduced heart rate variability (HRV), an indicator of cardiac autonomic control. OBJECTIVES:Our goal was to investigate the associations of exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) with HRV as an indicator of cardiac autonomic control during early development. METHODS:We studied 237 maternal-infant pairs in a Boston-based birth cohort. We estimated daily residential PM2.5 using satellite data in combination with land-use regression predictors. In infants at 6 months of age, we measured parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) activity using continuous electrocardiogram monitoring during the Repeated Still-Face Paradigm, an experimental protocol designed to elicit autonomic reactivity in response to maternal interaction and disengagement. We used multivariable linear regression to examine average PM2.5 exposure across pregnancy in relation to PNS withdrawal and activation, indexed by changes in respiration-corrected respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSAc)-an established metric of HRV that reflects cardiac vagal tone. We examined interactions with infant sex using cross-product terms. RESULTS:In adjusted models we found that a 1-unit increase in PM2.5 (in micrograms per cubic meter) was associated with a 3.53% decrease in baseline RSAc (95% CI: -6.96, 0.02). In models examining RSAc change between episodes, higher PM2.5 was generally associated with reduced PNS withdrawal during stress and reduced PNS activation during recovery; however, these associations were not statistically significant. We did not observe a significant interaction between PM2.5 and sex. DISCUSSION:Prenatal exposure to PM2.5 may disrupt cardiac vagal tone during infancy. Future research is needed to replicate these preliminary findings. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP4434.
Project description:Chronic hypertension (HTN) affects more than 1 billion people worldwide, and is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Despite decades of promising research, effective treatment of HTN remains challenging. This work investigates vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) as a novel, device-based therapy for HTN treatment, and specifically evaluates its effects on long-term survival and HTN-associated adverse effects. HTN was induced in Dahl salt-sensitive rats using a high-salt diet, and the rats were randomly divided into two groups: VNS (n = 9) and Sham (n = 8), which were implanted with functional or non-functional VNS stimulators, respectively. Acute and chronic effects of VNS therapy were evaluated through continuous monitoring of blood pressure (BP) and ECG via telemetry devices. Autonomic tone was quantified using heart rate (HR), HR variability (HRV) and baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) analysis. Structural cardiac changes were quantified through gross morphology and histology studies. VNS significantly improved the long-term survival of hypertensive rats, increasing median event-free survival by 78% in comparison to Sham rats. Acutely, VNS improved autonomic balance by significantly increasing HRV during stimulation, which may lead to beneficial chronic effects of VNS therapy. Chronic VNS therapy slowed the progression of HTN through an attenuation of SBP and by preserving HRV. Finally, VNS significantly altered cardiac structure, increasing heart weight, but did not alter the amount of fibrosis in the hypertensive hearts. These results suggest that VNS has the potential to improve outcomes in subjects with severe HTN.
Project description:Heart rate (HR) and HR variability (HRV), predictors of over-all organism health, are widely believed to be driven by autonomic input to the sinoatrial node (SAN), with sympathetic input increasing HR and reducing HRV. However, variability in spontaneous beating intervals in isolated SAN tissue and single SAN cells, devoid of autonomic neural input, suggests that clocks intrinsic to SAN cells may also contribute to HR and HRV in vivo. We assessed contributions of both intrinsic and autonomic neuronal input mechanisms of SAN cell function on HR and HRV via in vivo, telemetric EKG recordings. This was done in both wild type (WT) mice, and those in which adenylyl cyclase type 8 (ADCY8), a main driver of intrinsic cAMP-PKA-Ca2+ mediated pacemaker function, was overexpressed exclusively in the heart (TGAC8). We hypothesized that TGAC8 mice would: (1) manifest a more coherent pattern of HRV in vivo, i.e., a reduced HRV driven by mechanisms intrinsic to SAN cells, and less so to modulation by autonomic input and (2) utilize unique adaptations to limit sympathetic input to a heart with high levels of intrinsic cAMP-Ca2+ signaling. Increased adenylyl cyclase (AC) activity in TGAC8 SAN tissue was accompanied by a marked increase in HR and a concurrent marked reduction in HRV, both in the absence or presence of dual autonomic blockade. The marked increase in intrinsic HR and coherence of HRV in TGAC8 mice occurred in the context of: (1) reduced HR and HRV responses to ?-adrenergic receptor (?-AR) stimulation; (2) increased transcription of genes and expression of proteins [?-Arrestin, G Protein-Coupled Receptor Kinase 5 (GRK5) and Clathrin Adaptor Protein (Dab2)] that desensitize ?-AR signaling within SAN tissue, (3) reduced transcripts or protein levels of enzymes [dopamine beta-hydorxylase (DBH) and phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PNMT)] required for catecholamine production in intrinsic cardiac adrenergic cells, and (4) substantially reduced plasma catecholamine levels. Thus, mechanisms driven by cAMP-PKA-Ca2+ signaling intrinsic to SAN cells underlie the marked coherence of TGAC8 mice HRV. Adaptations to limit additional activation of AC signaling, via decreased neuronal sympathetic input, are utilized to ensure the hearts survival and prevent Ca2+ overload.