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Sympathetic single axonal discharge after spinal cord injury in humans: activity at rest and after bladder stimulation

Journal article
Authors Gunnar B Wallin
Tomas Karlsson
Göran Pegenius
Ann-Katrin Karlsson
V. G. Macefield
Mikael Elam
Published in Spinal Cord
Volume 52
Issue 6
Pages 434-438
ISSN 1362-4393
Publication year 2014
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Pages 434-438
Language en
Keywords sympathetic nerve activity, spinal cord injury, bladder stimulation
Subject categories Neurology


Study design: Clinical experimental mechanistic study. Objectives: (1) To determine in three spinal cord-injured patients whether individual muscle sympathetic nerve fibres below the level of the spinal lesion display spontaneous activity. (2) To determine in these patients if individual sympathetic vasoconstrictor fibres show a prolonged discharge following a bladder stimulus. Methods: Microneurographic recordings of action potentials from individual muscle nerve sympathetic fibres in a peroneal nerve. Recordings of skin blood flow and electrodermal responses in a foot. Results: In all patients, there was sparse ongoing spontaneous impulse traffic in individual sympathetic fibres. Brisk mechanical pressure over the urinary bladder evoked a varying number of action potentials in individual fibres, but the activity was brief and did not continue after the end of the evoked multiunit burst. Conclusion: Prolonged discharges in individual sympathetic fibres are unlikely to contribute to a long duration of blood pressure increases induced by brief bladder stimuli.

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