The relationship between sympathetic nervous activity and cerebral hemodynamics and oxygenation: a study using skin conductance measurement and functional near-infrared spectroscopy.
Cerebral vascular responses to sympathetic stimulation and denervation were examined in three species during acute severe hypertension as well as normal conditions. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) was measured with microspheres after the superior cervical sympathetic trunk was cut and during electrical stimulation of the superior cervical sympathetic ganglion. Sympathetic denervation did not increase CBF in anesthetized cats or monkeys. Under normal conditions, sympathetic stimulation decreased CBF significantly in monkeys (-26 +/- 3%) (mean +/- SE) but not in cats. During acute severe hypertension, decreases in CBF due to sympathetic stimulation were greatly augmented in cats (-29 +/- 7%, compared to -3 +/- 3%), only modestly augmented in dogs (-9 +/- 3%, compared to -1 +/- 2%), and not augmented in monkeys (-17 +/- 3%, compared to -23 +/- 4%). Disruption of the blood-brain barrier during hypertension was reduced by sympathetic stimulation. We conclude that 1) sympathetic tone to cerebral vessels is minimal because denervation does not increase CBF; 2) sympathetic stimulation decreases CBF under normal conditions in monkeys and during severe hypertension in cats, dogs, and monkeys, and it reduces disruption of the blood-brain barrier; and 3) there is an important species difference in responses to sympathetic stimulation under normal conditions and during acute hypertension.