Journal of Applied Physiology

Venous hydrostatic indifference point as a marker of postnatal adaptation to orthostasis in swine

Phillip S. Buckner, Anthony W. Quail, David B. F. Cottee, Saxon W. White


The postulate that venous adaptation assists postural baroreflex regulation by shifting the hydrostatic indifference point (HIP) toward the heart was investigated in eight midazolam-sedated newborn piglets. Whole body head-up (+15, +30, and +45°) and head-down (−15 and −30°) tilt provided a physiological range of orthostatic strain. HIP for all positive tilts shifted toward the heart (P < 0.05), +45° HIP shifted most [6.7 ± 0.3, 5.9 ± 0.5, and 3.6 ± 0.3 (SE) cm caudal to right atrium on days 1,3, and6, respectively]. HIP for negative tilts (3.0 ± 0.2 cm caudal to right atrium) did not shift with postnatal age. Euthanasia on day 6 caused 2.1 ± 0.3-cm caudal displacement of HIP for positive and negative tilts (P < 0.05). HIP proximity to right atrium was not altered by α-, β-adrenoceptor and cholinoceptor blockade on day 5. It is concluded that early HIP migration reflects enhancement of venous pressure control to head-up orthostatic strain. The effect is independent of baroreflex-mediated adrenoceptor and cholinoceptor mechanisms.

  • postural baroreflex
  • tilt
  • newborn
  • swine
  • autonomic blockade


  • Address for reprint requests and other correspondence: A. W. Quail, Discipline of Human Physiology, Univ. of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia (E-mail: hpawq{at}

  • The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. The article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. §1734 solely to indicate this fact.

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