Health Risks Associated with Autonomic Nervous System Malfunction

  • C. M. Shapiro
Conference paper


If one attempts to date the first descriptions of autonomic instability during dreaming sleep, one has the difficulty of deciding whether descriptions before the formal characterisation of REM sleep on electroencephalographie grounds are simply intuitive or indicative of an appreciation of phenomena that now would be associated with REM sleep. One of the clearest early descriptions was by MacWilliam [22], the then Professor of Physiology in Aberdeen, who wrote in a paper entitled “Blood pressure and heart action in sleep and dreams”, that

The results obtained in the present investigation lead to the conclusion that in considering that subject of sleep we have to deal with two distinct conditions, which have strikingly different associations as far as nervous, circulatory, respiratory, and other functions are concerned: (1) undisturbed or sound sleep, attended by lowering of blood pressure, heart and respiratory rates, etc., sometimes accompanied by extensive rises of blood pressure (hithero not recognised), increased heart action, changes in respiration, and various reflex effects.


Sleep Apnea Penile Erection Paradoxical Sleep Nocturnal Asthma Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Burnstock G (1986) The changing face of autonomic neurotransmission. Acta Physiol Scand 126: 67–91PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Burnstock G (1988) Autonomic neural control mechanisms with special reference to the airways. In: Kaliner MA, Barnes PJ (eds) The airways neural control in health and disease. Dekker, New York, pp 1–22Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Catterall JR, Calverley PMA, Ewing DJ, Shapiro CM, Clarke BF, Douglas NJ (1984) Breathing, sleep and diabetic autonomic neuropathy. Diabetes 33: 1025–1027PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Catterall JR, Rhind GB, Stewart IC, Shapiro CM, Douglas NJ (1986) Effect of sleep deprivation on overnight broncho-constriction in nocturnal asthma. Thorax 41: 676–680PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Del Bo A, Baccelli G, Celina G, Fea F, Ferrari A, Zanchetti A (1985) Carotid sinus reflexes during postural changes, naturally elicited fighting behaviour, and phases of sleep in the cat. Cardiovasc Res 19: 762–769PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Douglas NJ, White DP, Pickett CK, Weil JV, Zwillich CW (1982a) Respiration during sleep in normal man. Thorax 37: 840–844PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Douglas NJ, White NP, Weil JV, Pickett CK, Martin RJ, Hudgel DW, Zwillich CW (1982b) Hypoxic ventilatory response decreases during sleep in normal men. Am Rev Respir Dis 125 (3): 286–289Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ewing DJ (1988) Recent advances in the non invasive investigation of diabetic autonomic neuropathy. In: Bannister R (ed) Autonomic failure. A textbook of clinical disorders of the autonomic nervous system, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 667–689Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ewing DJ, Neilson JMM, Travis P (1984) New method for assessing cardiac parasympathetic activity using 24 hour electrocardiogram. Br Heart J 52: 396–402PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Fisher C, Gross J, Zuch J (1965) Cycle of penile erection synchronous with dreaming (REM) sleep: preliminary report. Arch Gen Psychiatry 12: 29–45PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Floyer J (1968) A treatise of the asthma. Wilkin, LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gebber GL, Barman SM, Morrison SF (1987) Electrophysiological evidence for the modular organisation of the reticular formation: sympathetic controlling circuits. Brain Res 410: 106–110PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    George CF, Kryger MH (1985) Sleep and control of heart rate. Symposium on sleep disorders. Clin Chest Med 6: 595–601PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Guazzi M, Zanchetti A (1965) Carotid sinus and aortic reflexes in the regulation of circulation during sleep. Science 148: 397–399PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Heller HC, Glotzbach SF (1977) Thermoregulation during sleep and hibernation. In: Shaw R (ed) Environmental Physiology, vol 11. University Park Press, Baltimore, pp 147–188Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hobson JA, Scheibel SF (1980) The brainstem core: sensorimotor integration and behavioural state control. Neurosci Res Program Bull 18: 1–173PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Inoue Y, Inoue H, Kawaguchi K, Hoshino E, Hamazoe K, Sakamoto I, Hazama H (1988) Electrocardiogram, respiratory periods and hypercapnic response in sleep apnea patients. J Auton Nerv Syst 25: 237Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Jouvet M (1988) The regulation of paradoxical sleep by the hypothalamohypophysis. Arch Hal Biol 126: 259–274Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Kahn A (1988) Sudden infant death syndrome. Paper presented at the international conference on sleep and autonomic dysfunction. Homburg, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Loeppky J, Voyles WF, Eldridge MW, Sikes CW (1987) Sleep apnea and autonomic cerebrovascular dysfunction. Sleep 10: 25–34PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Lydic R (1987) State-dependent aspects of regulatory physiology. In: Proceedings of the 71st annual meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. FASEB Journal 1: 6–15PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    MacWilliam J A (1923) Blood pressure and heart action in sleep and dreams. Br Med J 2: 1196–1200PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Mitler MM, Hajdukovic RM, Shafor R, Hahn PM, Kripke DF (1987) When people die. Cause of death versus time of death. Am J Med 82: 266–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Morrison J, Pearson SB, Dean HG (1988) Parasympathetic nervous system in nocturnal asthma. Br Med J 296: 1427–1429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Motta J, Guilleminault C (1985) Cardiac dysfunction during sleep. Ann Clin Res 17: 190–198PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Nelson EAS, Taylor BJ, Weatherall IL (1989) Sleeping position and infant bedding may predispose to hyperthermia and the sudden infant death syndrome. Lancet: 199–201Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Nowlin JB, Troyer WD, Collins WS, Silverman G, Nichols CR, Mcintosh HD, Estes EH, Bogdonoff MD (1965) The association of nocturnal angina pectoris with dreaming. Clin Res 13: 216Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Parmeggiani PL (1977) Interaction between sleep and thermoregulation. Waking Sleeping 1: 123–132Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Parmeggiani PL, Zamboni G, Cinaci T, Calasso M (1977) Absence of thermoregulatory vasomotor responses during fast wave sleep in cats. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 42: 372–380PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Phillipson EA, Sullivan CE, Read DJ, Murphy E, Kozar LF (1978) Ventilatory and waking responses to hypoxia in sleeping dogs. J Appl Physiol 44: 512–520PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Pickering TG, Gribbin B, Petersen EF, Cunningham DJC, Sleight P (1972) Comparison of the effect of different types of exercise on the baroreflex regulation of the heart rate. Acta Physiol Scand 86: 444–454PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Raschke F, Möller KH (1989) Untersuchungen zur Tagesrhythmik der Chemosensitivitat und deren Beitrag zu nachtlichen Atmungsregulationsstorungen. Prax Klin Pneumol 43: 568–571Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Rosendorff C, Mitchell G, Scriven CRL, Shapiro CM (1976) Evidence for a dual innervation affecting local blood flow in the hypothalamus of the conscious rabbit. Circ Res 38: 140–145PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Shapiro CM (1983) Autonomic nervous system dysfunction during REM sleep. In: Koella WP (ed) Sleep 1982. Karger, Basel, pp 80–88Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Shapiro CM, Rosendorff C (1975) Hypothalamic blood flow during sleep. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 39: 365–369PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Shapiro CM, Moore AT, Mitchell D, Yodaiken ML (1974) How well does man thermoregulate during sleep? Experientia 30: 1279–1281PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Shapiro CM, Montgomery I, Catterall JR, Raab G, Douglas NJ (1986) Bronchoconstriction during REM sleep. Br Med J 292: 1161–1165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Shapiro CM, Borrow S, Driver H, Hurwitz M, Douglas NJ (1990) REM sleep is not an ‘on-off’ switch in nocturnal asthma, (in preparation)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Siegl JM, Nienhuis R, Wheeler RL, McGinty DJ, Harper RM (1981) Discharge pattern of reticular formation unit pairs in waking and REM sleep. Exp Neurol 74: 875–891CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Snyder F (1967) Autonomic nervous system manifestations during sleep and dreaming. Sleep and altered states of consciousness. In: Kety S et al. (eds) Proceedings of the association for research in nervous and mental disease. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, pp 469–487Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. M. Shapiro
    • 1
  1. 1.University Departments of Psychiatry and Respiratory MedicineRoyal Edinburgh HospitalEdinburghUnited Kingdom

Personalised recommendations