Analysis of Sympathetic Nerve Activity

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Abstract

A powerful method to study the role of the autonomic nervous system in preservation of homeostasis is to directly record sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) to various organs. This chapter will introduce methods to analyze the multi-fiber sympathetic nerve activity that is differentially recorded between two electrodes. The pros and cons of using spike counting using a threshold versus rectification and integration of the raw signal will be discussed. The analysis of the amplitude and frequency of sympathetic bursts will be introduced, and examples from the literature where this may be important will be highlighted. The next section will focus on the analysis of baroreflex control of SNA and introduce methods to compare baroreflex curves within animals and between groups of animals. This chapter will end with a discussion on the drawbacks of trying to directly compare SNA between two different groups of animals.