Role of the prefrontal lobe in young normotensives with a family history of hypertension and hypertensives

  • Xiaoni Wang
  • Fadong Zhao
  • Saisai Yan
  • Xinzhu Zhang
  • Lin Xie
  • Binbin Liu
  • Xiaohui Di
  • Yi Li
  • Jianbao ZhangEmail author
Integrative physiology
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Integrative Physiology


Accumulating evidence has demonstrated a significant relationship between prefrontal lobe and hypertension. Elevated blood pressure is usually associated with a prefrontal hemodynamic abnormality. However, the detailed process is still unclear. In this study, we designed a startle protocol and tested the response of the cerebral cortex and cardiovascular system in young normotensive subjects with a family history of hypertension (FH+). Additionally, the cold forehead test (CFT) was performed in hypertensive subjects. In total, 40 young normotensive subjects (21 with FH+ and 19 without a family history of hypertension (FH-)) and 49 middle-aged subjects (21 normotensives (NT) and 28 hypertensives (HT)) were recruited. Our results showed that the magnitude of startle-evoked alpha oscillation at the parasympathetic-related prefrontal cortex (FP1 and FP2) in the FH+ group was significantly smaller than in the FH- group. Acute bradycardia (RRI increase) was observed in FH- subjects but disappeared in the FH+ group. The coupling between instant cardiac acute response (increased RRI) and prefrontal arousal (magnitude of evoked oscillation) was significantly weakened in the FH+ group compared with the FH- group. Furthermore, the decrease in HR induced by parasympathetic outflow during CFT was absent in HT subjects. Hence, we concluded that the impairment of parasympathetic outflow derived from the prefrontal lobe occurs in both healthy young offspring of hypertensive and hypertensive patients.


Hypertension Prefrontal lobe Parasympathetic nerve EEG 



Funding from the Chinese National Natural Science Foundation (No. 11872297 and No. 61302011) is gratefully acknowledged.

Compliance with ethical standards

Funding information

Publication charges for this article have been funded by the Chinese National Natural Science Foundation (No. 11872297).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaoni Wang
    • 1
  • Fadong Zhao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Saisai Yan
    • 1
  • Xinzhu Zhang
    • 1
  • Lin Xie
    • 1
  • Binbin Liu
    • 1
  • Xiaohui Di
    • 1
  • Yi Li
    • 3
  • Jianbao Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.The Key Laboratory of Biomedical Information Engineering of Ministry of Education, Institute of Health and Rehabilitation Science, School of Life Science and TechnologyXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Equipment Management and Support CollegeEngineering University of People’s Armed PoliceXi’anPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.School of MaterialsThe University of ManchesterManchesterUK

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