No elevated plasma catecholamine levels during sleep in newly diagnosed, untreated hypertensives

Björn Rasch*, Christoph Dodt, Friedhelm Sayk, Matthias Mölle, Jan Born

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


The sympatho-adrenergic system is highly involved in regulating sleep, wake and arousal states, and abnormalities in this system are regarded as a key factor in the development and progression of arterial hypertension. While hypertension is associated with a hyperadrenergic state during wakefulness, the effect of hypertension on plasma-catecholamine levels during sleep is not yet known. Twelve young participants with newly diagnosed, untreated hypertension and twelve healthy controls slept for 7 hours in the sleep laboratory. Before and after sleep, subjects rested in a supine position for 3-h periods of wakefulness. We sampled blood at a fast rate (1/10 min) and monitored blood pressure and heart rate continuously. We show that plasma NE and E levels did not differ between hypertensives and normotensive during sleep as well as before and after sleep. Blood pressure was higher in hypertensives, reaching the largest group difference in the morning after sleep. Unlike in the normotensives, in the hypertensive participants the morning rise in blood pressure did not correlate with the rise in catecholamine levels at awakening. Our results suggest that hypertension in its early stages is not associated with a strong hyperadrenergic state during sleep. In showing a diminished control of blood pressure through sympatho-adrenergic signals in hypertensive participants, our data point towards a possible involvement of dysfunctional sleep-related blood pressure regulation in the development of hypertension.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere21292
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 22.06.2011


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