Indices of sympathetic vascular innervation in sympathectomized patients.

Journal of the autonomic nervous system

PubMedID: 3517118

Goldstein DS, Bonner RF, Zimlichman R, Zahn TP, Cannon RO, Rosing DR, Stull R, Keiser HR. Indices of sympathetic vascular innervation in sympathectomized patients. J Auton Nerv Syst. 1986;15(4):309-18.
We measured arterial and venous plasma catecholamines and used laser-Doppler flowmetry to measure cutaneous microcirculatory flow in the sympathectomized and in the intact limbs of 3 patients who had undergone regional sympathectomies. Venous concentrations of norepinephrine, the sympathetic neurotransmitter, exceeded arterial concentrations in the intact limbs--a normal finding--but invariably were less than arterial in the sympathectomized limbs of the same patients, both during baseline conditions and during sympathetic stimulation using tilt, standing and the cold pressor test (mean arteriovenous decrement about 40%). Arterial epinephrine levels exceeded venous levels with or without sympathectomy. Skin microvascular flow rapidly decreased during the cold pressor test and the Valsalva maneuver in the intact but not in the sympathectomized limbs, and spontaneous flow oscillations occurred in the sympathectomized limbs. The results suggest that an arteriovenous increment in plasma norepinephrine reflects local release of norepinephrine from sympathetic nerve endings, whereas removal of circulating catecholamines can occur with or without sympathetic neural impulses. Laser-Doppler flowmetry can measure reflexive sympathetically mediated responses of skin microvascular flow and so can detect sympathetic denervation. Spontaneous oscillations in this flow may not depend exclusively on oscillations in the activity of the sympathetic microvascular innervation.