PMID: 8144218Apr 1, 1994Paper

Baroreflex failure in a patient with central nervous system lesions involving the nucleus tractus solitarii

I BiaggioniJ H Nadeau


Animal studies have shown the importance of the nucleus tractus solitarii, a collection of neurons in the brain stem, in the acute regulation of blood pressure. Impulses arising from the carotid and aortic baroreceptors converge in this center, where the first synapse of the baroreflex is located. Stimulation of the nucleus tractus solitarii provides an inhibitory signal to other brain stem structures, particularly the rostral ventrolateral medulla, resulting in a reduction in sympathetic outflow and a decrease in blood pressure. Conversely, experimental lesions of the nucleus tractus solitarii lead to loss of baroreflex control of blood pressure, sympathetic activation, and severe hypertension in animals. In humans, baroreflex failure due to deafferentation of baroreceptors has been previously reported and is characterized by episodes of severe hypertension and tachycardia. We present a patient with an undetermined process of the central nervous system characterized pathologically by ubiquitous infarctions that were particularly prominent in the nucleus tractus solitarii bilaterally but spared the rostral ventrolateral medulla. Absence of a functioning baroreflex was evidenced by the lack of reflex tachycardia to the hypotensi...Continue Reading


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