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Biomedical Engineering / Biomedizinische Technik

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Simultaneous assessment of autonomic nervous and vascular endothelial functions in a rat model

Hsien-Tsai Wu1 / 1, a / Cheuk-Kwan Sun2 / An-Bang Liu3, a / Ching-Shuen Chen1 / Chun-Cheng Yang1 / Chien-Hsing Wang4

1Department of Electrical Engineering, National Dong Hwa University, Hualien, Taiwan

2Department of Emergency Medicine, E-Da Hospital, I-Shou University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

3Department of Neurology, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital and Buddhist Tzu Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan

4Department of Surgery, Buddhist Tzu-Chi General Hospital, Hualien, Taiwan

aEqual contribution to the corresponding author.

Corresponding author: Cyuan-Cin Liu, Department of Electrical Engineering, National Dong Hwa University, No. 1, Sec. 2, Da Hsueh Road, Shoufeng, Hualien 97401, Taiwan, R.O.C., Phone: +886-3-8634098, Fax: +886-3-8634060

Citation Information: Biomedizinische Technik/Biomedical Engineering. Volume 58, Issue 2, Pages 205–212, ISSN (Online) 1862-278X, ISSN (Print) 0013-5585, DOI: 10.1515/bmt-2012-0056, February 2013

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Despite the importance of translational medicine in cardiovascular research, rat vascular endothelial function and sympathetic activity assessment remains challenging. This study consisted of two parts: part A examined the consistency of reactive hyperemia-elicited dilatation index (DI) before (DIOriginal) and after (DIEEMD) ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD) using Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats (n=7). Part B compared the endothelial function and heart rate variability of normal WKY rats (group 1, n=9) with those of spontaneously hypertensive rats (group 2, n=9) at two time points of development. The SD1/SD2 ratio (SSR) was obtained from Poincaré plot analysis to evaluate sympathetic activities. Using a Bland-Altman plot, part A of the study demonstrated a lower agreement of DIOriginal than that of DIEEMD. In part B, despite no significant difference in DIEEMD between the two groups at age 10 weeks, DIEEMD was higher in group 1 (2.25±0.63 vs. 1.43±0.41 for groups 1 and 2, respectively, p=0.004) at 20 weeks. Although no notable change in SSR existed in group 1 between the two time points, a significant difference existed in group 2 (p<0.001). In conclusion, using algorithms of Poincaré plot analysis and EEMD, the impact of age and hypertension on rat vascular endothelial function and heart rate variability can be reliably assessed.

Keywords: autonomic function; endothelial function; hypertension; Poincaré plot analysis; reactive hyperemia

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