Detection of low- and high-frequency rhythms in the variability of skin sympathetic nerve activity

Chiara Cogliati, Renata Magatelli, Nicola Montano, Krzysztof Narkiewicz, Virend K. Somers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Spectral analysis of skin blood flow has demonstrated low-frequency (LF, 0.03-0.15 Hz) and high-frequency (HF, 0.15-0.40 Hz) oscillations, similar to oscillations in R-R interval, systolic pressure, and muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA). It is not known whether the oscillatory profile of skin blood flow is secondary to oscillations in arterial pressure or to oscillations in skin sympathetic nerve activity (SSNA). MSNA and SSNA differ markedly with regard to control mechanisms and morphology. MSNA contains vasoconstrictor fibers directed to muscle vasculature, closely regulated by baroreceptors. SSNA contains both vasomotor and sudomotor fibers, differentially responding to arousals and thermal stimuli. Nevertheless, MSNA and SSNA share certain common characteristics. We tested the hypothesis that LF and HF oscillatory components are evident in SSNA, similar to the oscillatory components present in MSNA. We studied 18 healthy normal subjects and obtained sequential measurements of MSNA and SSNA from the peroneal nerve during supine rest. Measurements were also obtained of the electrocardiogram, beat-by-beat blood pressure (Finapres), and respiration. Spectral analysis showed LF and HF oscillations in MSNA, coherent with similar oscillations in both R-R interval and systolic pressure. The HF oscillation of MSNA was coherent with respiration. Similarly, LF and HF spectral components were evident in SSNA variability, coherent with corresponding variability components of R-R interval and systolic pressure. HF oscillations of SSNA were coherent with respiration. Thus our data suggest that these oscillations may be fundamental characteristics shared by MSNA and SSNA, possibly reflecting common central mechanisms regulating sympathetic outflows subserving different regions and functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1256-H1260
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4 47-4
StatePublished - Apr 2000


  • Autonomic
  • Power spectra

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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