Figure 188

Two-hour records of arterial pressure in a normal dog (above) and in the same dog (below) several weeks after the baroreceptors had been denervated. (Redrawn from Cowley AW Jr, Liard JF, Guyton AC: Role of baroreceptor reflex in daily control of arterial blood pressure and other variables in dogs. Circ Res 32:564, 1973. By permission of the American Heart Association, Inc.)

by some physiologists to be relatively unimportant in chronic regulation of arterial pressure chronically is that they tend to reset in 1 to 2 days to the pressure level to which they are exposed. That is, if the arterial pressure rises from the normal value of 100 mm Hg to 160 mm Hg, a very high rate of baroreceptor impulses are at first transmitted. During the next few minutes, the rate of firing diminishes considerably; then it diminishes much more slowly during the next 1 to 2 days, at the end of which time the rate of firing will have returned to nearly normal despite the fact that the mean arterial pressure still remains at 160 mm Hg. Conversely, when the arterial pressure falls to a very low level, the baroreceptors at first transmit no impulses, but gradually, over 1 to 2 days, the rate of baroreceptor firing returns toward the control level.

This "resetting" of the baroreceptors may attenuate their potency as a control system for correcting disturbances that tend to change arterial pressure for longer than a few days at a time. Experimental studies, however, have suggested that the baroreceptors do not completely reset and may therefore contribute to

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