Bone and Joint Institute

Influence of Sex and Age on Muscle Sympathetic Nerve Activity of Healthy Normotensive Adults

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© 2020 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved. As with blood pressure, age-related changes in muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) may differ nonlinearly between sexes. Data acquired from 398 male (age: 39±17; range: 18-78 years [mean±SD]) and 260 female (age: 37±18; range: 18-81 years) normotensive healthy nonmedicated volunteers were analyzed using linear regression models with resting MSNA burst frequency as the outcome and the predictors sex, age, MSNA, blood pressure, and body mass index modelled with natural cubic splines. Age and body mass index contributed 41% and 11%, respectively, of MSNA variance in females and 23% and 1% in males. Overall, changes in MSNA with age were sigmoidal. At age 20, mean MSNA of males and females were similar, then diverged significantly, reaching in women a nadir at age 30. After 30, MSNA increased nonlinearly in both sexes. Both MSNA discharge and blood pressure were lower in females until age 50 (17±9 versus 25±10 bursts·min-1; P0.56). Compared with age 30, MSNA burst frequency at age 70 was 57% higher in males but 3-fold greater in females; corresponding increases in systolic blood pressure were 1 (95% CI, -4 to 5) and 12 (95% CI, 6-16) mm Hg. Except for concordance in females beyond age 40, there was no systematic change with age in any resting MSNA-blood pressure relationship. In normotensive adults, MSNA increases after age 30, with ascendance steeper in women.


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