HRV during LBNP_Clin Sci Formatted_entire_document_ACCEPTED_July 2, 2015(4).pdf (170.68 kB)
Download file

Augmented vagal heart rate modulation in active hypoestrogenic pre-menopausal women with functional hypothalamic amenorrhoea

Download (170.68 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 17.03.2016, 12:04 by Emma ODonnellEmma ODonnell, Jack M. Goodman, Beverley L. Morris, John S. Floras, Paula J. Harvey
Compared with eumenorrhoeic women, exercise-trained women with functional hypothalamic amenorrhoea (ExFHA) exhibit low heart rates (HRs) and absent reflex renin-angiotensin-system activation and augmentation of their muscle sympathetic nerve response to orthostatic stress. To test the hypothesis that their autonomic HR modulation is altered concurrently, three age-matched (pooled mean, 24 ± 1 years; mean ± S.E.M.) groups of women were studied: active with either FHA (ExFHA; n=11) or eumenorrhoeic cycles (ExOv; n=17) and sedentary with eumenorrhoeic cycles (SedOv; n=17). Blood pressure (BP), HR and HR variability (HRV) in the frequency domain were determined during both supine rest and graded lower body negative pressure (LBNP; -10, -20 and -40 mmHg). Very low (VLF), low (LF) and high (HF) frequency power spectra (ms(2)) were determined and, owing to skewness, log10-transformed. LF/HF ratio and total power (VLF + LF + HF) were calculated. At baseline, HR and systolic BP (SBP) were lower (P<0.05) and HF and total power were higher (P<0.05) in ExFHA than in eumenorrhoeic women. In all groups, LBNP decreased (P<0.05) SBP, HF and total power and increased (P<0.05) HR and LF/HF ratio. However, HF and total power remained higher (P<0.05) and HR, SBP and LF/HF ratio remained lower (P<0.05) in ExFHA than in eumenorrhoeic women, in whom measures did not differ (P>0.05). At each stage, HR correlated inversely (P<0.05) with HF. In conclusion, ExFHA women demonstrate augmented vagal yet unchanged sympathetic HR modulation, both at rest and during orthostatic stress. Although the role of oestrogen deficiency is unclear, these findings are in contrast with studies reporting decreased HRV in hypoestrogenic post-menopausal women.


This work was supported by a Pfizer Cardiovascular Independent Research Award [grant number NRA 3840028] to P.J.H.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Clinical science (London, England : 1979)






885 - 893


O'DONNELL, E. ... et al., 2015. Augmented vagal heart rate modulation in active hypoestrogenic pre-menopausal women with functional hypothalamic amenorrhoea. Clinical Science, 129 (10), pp. 885 - 893.


© Authors; published by Portland Press Limited


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

Acceptance date


Publication date



The final version of record is available at