The maintenance of arterial pressure at levels adequate to perfuse the tissues is a basic requirement for the constancy of the internal environment and survival. The objective of the present review was to provide information about the basic reflex mechanisms that are responsible for the moment-to-moment regulation of the cardiovascular system. We demonstrate that this control is largely provided by the action of arterial and non-arterial reflexes that detect and correct changes in arterial pressure (baroreflex), blood volume or chemical composition (mechano- and chemosensitive cardiopulmonary reflexes), and changes in blood-gas composition (chemoreceptor reflex). The importance of the integration of these cardiovascular reflexes is well understood and it is clear that processing mainly occurs in the nucleus tractus solitarii, although the mechanism is poorly understood. There are several indications that the interactions of baroreflex, chemoreflex and Bezold-Jarisch reflex inputs, and the central nervous system control the activity of autonomic preganglionic neurons through parallel afferent and efferent pathways to achieve cardiovascular homeostasis. It is surprising that so little appears in the literature about the integration of these neural reflexes in cardiovascular function. Thus, our purpose was to review the interplay between peripheral neural reflex mechanisms of arterial blood pressure and blood volume regulation in physiological and pathophysiological states. Special emphasis is placed on the experimental model of arterial hypertension induced by N-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) in which the interplay of these three reflexes is demonstrable
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