The Siberian Scientific Medical Journal
№ 3 / 2012 / 5-20

Brain oscillations and individual variability of arterial blood pressure reactivity dynamics during cardiac defense in healthy men

Author Affiliations


Objectives. Assessment of defensive behavior in the cardiovascular system is based on the presentation of an intense aversive unexpected stimulus prompting a specific dynamic pattern of cardiovascular reactivity (usually based on HR and/or arterial BP reactivity) coined as the cardiac defense response (CDR). The CDR indexes activity of the defensive motivational system along with behavioral coping programs. Using the CDR as a model of defensive behavior, the aim was to analyze putative contribution of brain oscillations into central mechanisms of enhanced cardiovascular stress reactivity in healthy men. Materials and Methods: To address this issue the CDR was elicited in 39 subjects, rated as high and low reactive according to presence or absence of the long-latency systolic blood pressure reactivity. Heart rate (HR), arterial blood pressure (BP), and stroke volume (SV), based on the beat-by- beat technology (Finometer®) along with 64-channel EEG were simultaneously recorded while the three CDR were sequentially evoked. As for the neurophysiological analysis of the CDR’s time-course the event-related synchroniza- tion/desynchronization (ERD/ERS) of EEG in different frequency bands was calculated throughout the all recorded CDRs. Results: It was revealed that theta-2 (6–8 Hz) power over the frontal and the fronto-central brain areas cor- relates with short-latency reactivity indices of HR, BP and SV. The long-latency sustained systolic BP increases in the high reactive individuals were marked by lack of the alpha-2 (10–12 Hz) ERS over the fronto-centro-parietal cortex bilaterally. On the contrary, the low reactive subjects manifested alpha-2 ERS over the same regions which was concomitant to the lowered long-latency BP reactivity. Conclusions. It is suggested that upper theta oscillations are involved into central mechanisms of cardiovascular reactivity scaling whereas high frequency alpha oscillations from the anterior cortex occur the top-down inhibitory control of arterial BP stress reactivity.

Key words

theta and alpha oscillations, arterial hypertension, Fm-theta, high frequency alpha (10–12 Hz), cardiovascular reactivity, defensive motivational system, cardiovascular reactivity, brain oscillations, psychophysiology, event-related EEG, fight-flight system; cardiac defense, electroencephalogram, emotion
About Authors (Correspondence):

Aftanas L.I. – doctor of medical sciences, professor, academician of RAMS, head of the psychophysiology laboratory, e-mail:

Brak I.V. – scientific researcher  of the psychophysiology laboratory, e-mail:

Pavlov S.V. – senior scientific researcher  of the psychophysiology laboratory, e-mail:

Reva N.V. – senior scientific researcher  of the psychophysiology laboratory, e-mail:

Full Text

Received: 10/02/2015