Fluctuations in carotid arterial distensibility during the menstrual cycle do not influence cardiovagal baroreflex sensitivity

K. Hayashi*, M. Miyachi, N. Seno, K. Takahashi, K. Yamazaki, J. Sugawara, T. Yokoi, S. Onodera, N. Mesaki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: Fluctuations in autonomic nervous functions throughout the menstrual cycle and the underlying mechanism concerning them are not well known. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that fluctuations in cardiovagal baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) throughout the menstrual cycles of young women are due to fluctuations in carotid arterial distensibility. Methods: In eight eumenorrhoeic healthy young women (18-24 years), we determined the variations in the carotid arterial distensibility coefficient (DC; via simultaneous ultrasonography and applanation tonometry), cardiovagal BRS (phase IV of the Valsalva manoeuvre and the sequence method; up- or down-sequence spontaneous BRS), and serum oestradiol and progesterone concentrations at five points in the menstrual cycle (menstrual = M, follicular = F, ovulatory = O, early luteal = EL, and late luteal = LL). Results: Serum oestradiol and progesterone levels were consistent with the predicted cycle phases. Carotid arterial DC fluctuated cyclically, increasing significantly from the M (52.4 ± 4.9 × 10-3 kPa-1, mean ± SE) and F (52.7 ± 4.4) phases to the O (57.6 ± 4.4) phase and declining sharply in the EL (46.0 ± 4.0) and LL (45.1 ± 3.0) phases (F = 6.37, P < 0.05). Contrary to our prediction, however, cardiovagal BRS by the Valsalva manoeuvre (P = 0.73) or sequence method (up-sequence spontaneous BRS; P = 0.84: down-sequence spontaneous BRS; P = 0.67) did not change significantly during the menstrual cycle. Conclusion: The results suggest that, although carotid arterial distensibility fluctuates with the changes in ovarian hormone levels that occur during the menstrual cycle, the fluctuations in carotid arterial distensibility do not influence cardiovagal BRS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-110
Number of pages8
JournalActa Physiologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Jan
Externally publishedYes


  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Carotid artery
  • Elasticity
  • Oestrogen
  • Progesterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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