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Context - Dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH) deficiency is a rare genetic disorder characterized by failure to convert dopamine to norepinephrine. DBH-deficient patients lack sympathetic adrenergic function and are therefore predisposed to orthostatic hypotension. DBH-deficient mice exhibit hyperinsulinemia, lower plasma glucose levels, and insulin resistance due to loss of tonic sympathetic inhibition of insulin secretion. The impact of DBH deficiency on glucose homeostasis in humans is unknown.
Case Description - We describe the metabolic profile of an adolescent female DBH-deficient patient. The patient underwent genetic testing, cardiovascular autonomic function testing, and evaluation of insulin secretion and sensitivity with hyperglycemic clamp under treatment-naive conditions. All procedures were repeated after 1 year of treatment with the norepinephrine prodrug droxidopa (300 mg, 3 times a day). Genetic testing showed a homozygous mutation in the DBH gene (rs74853476). Under treatment-naive conditions, she had undetectable plasma epinephrine and norepinephrine levels, resulting in sympathetic noradrenergic failure and orthostatic hypotension (-32 mm Hg supine to seated). She had high adiposity (41%) and fasting plasma insulin levels (25 μU/mL), with normal glucose (91 mg/dL). Hyperglycemic clamp revealed increased glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and insulin resistance. Droxidopa restored plasma norepinephrine and improved orthostatic tolerance, with modest effects on glucose homeostasis.
Conclusions - We provide evidence for impairment in cardiovascular autonomic regulation, hyperinsulinemia, enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, and insulin resistance in a DBH-deficient patient. These metabolic derangements were not corrected by chronic droxidopa treatment. These findings provide insight into the pathophysiology and treatment of DBH deficiency and into the importance of catecholaminergic mechanisms to resting metabolism.
Copyright © 2017 by the Endocrine Society
PURPOSE - Autonomic dysfunction has been reported in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Less is known about autonomic function during sleep in ASD. The objective of this study is to provide insight into the autonomic cardiovascular control during different sleep stages in ASD. We hypothesized that patients with ASD have lower vagal and higher sympathetic modulation with elevated heart rate, as compared to typical developing children (TD).
METHODS - We studied 21 children with ASD and 23 TD children during overnight polysomnography. Heart rate and spectral parameters were calculated for each vigilance stage during sleep. Data from the first four sleep cycles were used to avoid possible effects of different individual sleep lengths and sleep cycle structures. Linear regression models were applied to study the effects of age and diagnosis (ASD and TD).
RESULTS - In both groups, HR decreased during non-REM sleep and increased during REM sleep. However, HR was significantly higher in stages N2, N3 and REM sleep in the ASD group. Children with ASD showed less high frequency (HF) modulation during N3 and REM sleep. LF/HF ratio was higher during REM. Heart rate decreases with age at the same level in ASD and in TD. We found an age effect in LF in REM different in ASD and TD.
CONCLUSION - Our findings suggest possible deficits in vagal influence to the heart during sleep, especially during REM sleep. Children with ASD may have higher sympathetic dominance during sleep but rather due to decreased vagal influence.
UNLABELLED - Splanchnic venous pooling is a major hemodynamic determinant of orthostatic hypotension, but is not specifically targeted by pressor agents, the mainstay of treatment. We developed an automated inflatable abdominal binder that provides sustained servo-controlled venous compression (40 mm Hg) and can be activated only on standing. We tested the efficacy of this device against placebo and compared it to midodrine in 19 autonomic failure patients randomized to receive either placebo, midodrine (2.5-10 mg), or placebo combined with binder on separate days in a single-blind, crossover study. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) was measured seated and standing before and 1-hour post medication; the binder was inflated immediately before standing. Only midodrine increased seated SBP (31±5 versus 9±4 placebo and 7±5 binder, P=0.003), whereas orthostatic tolerance (defined as area under the curve of upright SBP [AUCSBP]) improved similarly with binder and midodrine (AUCSBP, 195±35 and 197±41 versus 19±38 mm Hg×minute for placebo; P=0.003). Orthostatic symptom burden decreased with the binder (from 21.9±3.6 to 16.3±3.1, P=0.032) and midodrine (from 25.6±3.4 to 14.2±3.3, P<0.001), but not with placebo (from 19.6±3.5 to 20.1±3.3, P=0.756). We also compared the combination of midodrine and binder with midodrine alone. The combination produced a greater increase in orthostatic tolerance (AUCSBP, 326±65 versus 140±53 mm Hg×minute for midodrine alone; P=0.028, n=21) and decreased orthostatic symptoms (from 21.8±3.2 to 12.9±2.9, P<0.001). In conclusion, servo-controlled abdominal venous compression with an automated inflatable binder is as effective as midodrine, the standard of care, in the management of orthostatic hypotension. Combining both therapies produces greater improvement in orthostatic tolerance.
CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION - URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT00223691.
© 2016 American Heart Association, Inc.
BACKGROUND - Patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) are routinely instructed to avoid performing the Valsalva maneuver for fear of syncope or sudden cardiac death. The mechanism of this action has not been elucidated. We conducted a case-control trial of nine patients with PAH and 15 healthy control subjects to determine if systemic hemodynamic changes during the Valsalva maneuver in these patients invoke greater susceptibility to syncope than healthy control subjects. Metrics commonly employed in autonomic testing were used to assess the degree of autonomic failure.
METHODS - Common Valsalva parameters, including adrenergic baroreflex sensitivity, pressure recovery time, systolic BP (SBP) recovery, diastolic BP (DBP) recovery, mean arterial pressure recovery, and the Valsalva ratio, were calculated. Mann-Whitney U tests were used to compare continuous variables. The primary end point was adrenergic baroreflex sensitivity.
RESULTS - Patients with PAH had lower adrenergic baroreflex sensitivity (9.7 ± 4.6 mm Hg/s vs 18.8 ± 9.2 mm Hg/s; P = .005), longer pressure recovery time (3.6 ± 2.5 s vs 1.7 ± 0.8 s; P = .008), similar SBP recovery (-13 ± 11 mm Hg vs -12 ± 23 mm Hg; P = .640), less DBP recovery (-1 ± 12 mm Hg vs 13 ± 14 mmHg; P = .025), less mean arterial pressure recovery (-5 ± 11 mm Hg vs 5 ± 17 mm Hg; P = .048), and a decreased Valsalva ratio (1.25 ± 0.11 vs 1.60 ± 0.22; P < .001) compared with healthy control subjects.
CONCLUSIONS - Compared with healthy control subjects, patients with PAH are more susceptible to syncope during the Valsalva maneuver because of autonomic dysfunction causing cerebral hypoperfusion. These study patients with PAH exhibited a degree of susceptibility to syncope similar to a spectrum of patients with intermediate autonomic failure who typically experience a SBP drop of 10 to 30 mm Hg with standing.
Copyright © 2016 American College of Chest Physicians. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The aim of this study was to determine whether antecedent stimulation of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) A receptors with the benzodiazepine alprazolam can blunt physiologic responses during next-day moderate (90 min) exercise in healthy man. Thirty-one healthy individuals (16 male/15 female aged 28 ± 1 year, BMI 23 ± 3 kg/m(2)) were studied during separate, 2-day protocols. Day 1 consisted of morning and afternoon 2-h hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic or hypoglycemic clamps with or without 1 mg alprazolam given 30 min before a clamp. Day 2 consisted of 90-min euglycemic cycling exercise at 50% VO2max. Despite similar euglycemia (5.3 ± 0.1 mmol/L) and insulinemia (46 ± 6 pmol/L) during day 2 exercise studies, GABA A activation with alprazolam during day 1 euglycemia resulted in significant blunting of plasma epinephrine, norepinephrine, glucagon, cortisol, and growth hormone responses. Lipolysis (glycerol, nonesterified fatty acids) and endogenous glucose production during exercise were also reduced, and glucose infusion rates were increased following prior euglycemia with alprazolam. Prior hypoglycemia with alprazolam resulted in further reduction of glucagon and cortisol responses during exercise. We conclude that prior activation of GABA A pathways can play a significant role in blunting key autonomous nervous system, neuroendocrine, and metabolic physiologic responses during next-day exercise in healthy man.
© 2015 by the American Diabetes Association. Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered.
BACKGROUND - Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) survivors treated with thoracic radiation therapy (RT) have impaired exercise tolerance and increased cardiovascular mortality.
OBJECTIVES - The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of autonomic dysfunction and its implications on exercise capacity and mortality in long-term survivors of HL.
METHODS - Exercise parameters in 263 HL survivors referred for exercise treadmill testing at a median interval of 19 years after RT were compared with 526 age-, sex-, and cardiovascular risk score-matched control subjects. Within the RT cohort, the presence of autonomic dysfunction, defined by an elevated resting heart rate (HR) (≥80 beats/min) and abnormal heart rate recovery (HRR) at 1 min (≤12 beats/min if active cool-down, or ≤18 beats/min if passive recovery), was correlated with exercise capacity and all-cause mortality over a median follow-up of 3 years.
RESULTS - RT was associated with elevated resting HR and abnormal HRR after adjusting for age, sex, cardiovascular risk factors, medications, and indication for exercise treadmill testing: odds ratio: 3.96 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.52 to 6.23) and odds ratio: 5.32 (95% CI: 2.94 to 9.65), respectively. Prevalence of autonomic dysfunction increased with radiation dose and time from RT. Both elevated resting HR and abnormal HRR were associated with reduced exercise capacity in RT patients. Abnormal HRR was also associated with increased all-cause mortality (age-adjusted hazard ratio: 4.60 [95% CI: 1.62 to 13.02]).
CONCLUSIONS - Thoracic RT is associated with autonomic dysfunction, as measured by elevated resting HR and abnormal HRR. These abnormalities are associated with impaired exercise tolerance, and abnormal HRR predicts increased all-cause mortality in RT patients.
Copyright © 2015 American College of Cardiology Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) is a pleiotropic neuropeptide found at synapses throughout the central and autonomic nervous system. We previously found that PACAP engages a selective G-protein coupled receptor (PAC1R) on ciliary ganglion neurons to rapidly enhance quantal acetylcholine (ACh) release from presynaptic terminals via neuronal nitric oxide synthase (NOS1) and cyclic AMP/protein kinase A (PKA) dependent processes. Here, we examined how PACAP stimulates NO production and targets resultant outcomes to synapses. Scavenging extracellular NO blocked PACAP-induced plasticity supporting a retrograde (post- to presynaptic) NO action on ACh release. Live-cell imaging revealed that PACAP stimulates NO production by mechanisms requiring NOS1, PKA and Ca(2+) influx. Ca(2+)-permeable nicotinic ACh receptors composed of α7 subunits (α7-nAChRs) are potentiated by PKA-dependent PACAP/PAC1R signaling and were required for PACAP-induced NO production and synaptic plasticity since both outcomes were drastically reduced following their selective inhibition. Co-precipitation experiments showed that NOS1 associates with α7-nAChRs, many of which are perisynaptic, as well as with heteromeric α3*-nAChRs that generate the bulk of synaptic activity. NOS1-nAChR physical association could facilitate NO production at perisynaptic and adjacent postsynaptic sites to enhance focal ACh release from juxtaposed presynaptic terminals. The synaptic outcomes of PACAP/PAC1R signaling are localized by PKA anchoring proteins (AKAPs). PKA regulatory-subunit overlay assays identified five AKAPs in ganglion lysates, including a prominent neuronal subtype. Moreover, PACAP-induced synaptic plasticity was selectively blocked when PKA regulatory-subunit binding to AKAPs was inhibited. Taken together, our findings indicate that PACAP/PAC1R signaling coordinates nAChR, NOS1 and AKAP activities to induce targeted, retrograde plasticity at autonomic synapses. Such coordination has broad relevance for understanding the control of autonomic synapses and consequent visceral functions.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Obesity is an important risk factor for the development of insulin resistance. Initial compensatory mechanisms include an increase in insulin levels, which are thought to induce sympathetic activation in an attempt to restore energy balance. We have previously shown, however, that sympathetic activity has no beneficial effect on resting energy expenditure in obesity. On the contrary, we hypothesize that sympathetic activation contributes to insulin resistance. To test this hypothesis, we determined insulin sensitivity using a standard hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp protocol in obese subjects randomly assigned in a crossover design 1 month apart to receive saline (intact day) or trimetaphan (4 mg/min IV, autonomic blocked day). Whole-body glucose uptake (MBW in mg/kg per minute) was used as index of maximal muscle glucose use. During autonomic blockade, we clamped blood pressure with a concomitant titrated intravenous infusion of the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor N-monomethyl-L-arginine. Of the 21 obese subjects (43±2 years; 35±2 kg/m(2) body mass index) studied, 14 were insulin resistant; they were more obese, had higher plasma glucose and insulin, and had higher muscle sympathetic nerve activity (23.3±1.5 versus 17.2±2.1 burst/min; P=0.03) when compared with insulin-sensitive subjects. Glucose use improved during autonomic blockade in insulin-resistant subjects (MBW 3.8±0.3 blocked versus 3.1±0.3 mg/kg per minute intact; P=0.025), with no effect in the insulin-sensitive group. These findings support the concept that sympathetic activation contributes to insulin resistance in obesity and may result in a feedback loop whereby the compensatory increase in insulin levels contributes to greater sympathetic activation.
© 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.