Muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) variability is traditionally computed through a low-pass filtering procedure that requires normalization. We proposed a new beat-to-beat MSNA variability computation that preserves dimensionality typical of an integrated neural discharge (i.e., bursts per unit of time). The calibrated MSNA (cMSNA) variability technique is contrasted with the traditional uncalibrated MSNA (ucMSNA) version. The powers of cMSNA and ucMSNA variabilities in the low-frequency (LF, from 0.04 to 0.15 Hz) band were computed with those of the heart period (HP) of systolic and diastolic arterial pressure (SAP and DAP, respectively) in seven healthy subjects (age, 20–28 years; median, 22 years; 5 women) during a graded head-up tilt. Subjects were sequentially tilted at 0°, 20°, 30°, 40°, and 60° table inclinations. The LF powers of ucMSNA and HP variabilities were expressed in normalized units (LFnu), whereas all remaining spectral markers were expressed in absolute units. We found that 1) the LF power of cMSNA variability was positively correlated with tilt angle, whereas the LFnu power of the ucMSNA series was uncorrelated; 2) the LF power of cMSNA variability was correlated with LF powers of SAP and DAP, LFnu power of HP and noradrenaline concentration, whereas the relationship of the LFnu power of ucMSNA variability to LF powers of SAP and DAP was weaker and that to LFnu power of HP was absent; and 3) the stronger relationship of cMSNA variability to SAP and DAP spectral markers compared with the ucMSNA series was confirmed individually. The cMSNA variability appears to be more suitable in describing sympathetic control in humans than traditional ucMSNA variability.
- heart rate variability
- arterial pressure variability
- autonomic nervous system
- cardiovascular control
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
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