Using skin sympathetic nerve activity to estimate stellate ganglion nerve activity in dogs

Zhaolei Jiang, Ye Zhao, Anisiia Doytchinova, Nicholas J. Kamp, Wei Chung Tsai, Yuan Yuan, David Adams, David Wagner, Changyu Shen, Lan S. Chen, Thomas H. Everett, Shien-Fong Lin, Peng Sheng Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background Stellate ganglion nerve activity (SGNA) is important in cardiac arrhythmogenesis. However, direct recording of SGNA requires access to the thoracic cavity. Skin of upper thorax is innervated by sympathetic nerve fibers originating from the stellate ganglia and is easily accessible. Objective The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that thoracic skin nerve activity (SKNA) can be used to estimate SGNA. Methods We recorded SGNA and SKNAs using surface electrocardiogram leads in 5 anesthetized and 4 ambulatory dogs. Apamin injected into the right stellate ganglion abruptly increased both right SGNA and SKNA in 5 anesthetized dogs. We integrated nerve activities and averaged heart rate in each 1-minure window over 10 minutes. We implanted a radiotransmitter to record left SGNA in 4 ambulatory dogs (2 normal, 1 with myocardial infarction, 1 with intermittent rapid atrial pacing). After 2 weeks of recovery, we simultaneously recorded the SKNA and left SGNA continuously for 30 minutes when the dogs were ambulatory. Results There was a positive correlation [average r = 0.877, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.732-1.000, P <.05 for each dog] between integrated skin nerve activity (iSKNA) and SGNA (iSGNA) and between iSKNA and heart rate (average r = 0.837, 95% CI 0.752-0.923, P <.05). Similar to that found in the anesthetized dogs, there was a positive correlation (average r = 0.746, 95% CI 0.527-0.964, P <.05) between iSKNA and iSGNA and between iSKNA and heart rate (average r = 0.706, 95% CI 0.484-0.927, P <.05). Conclusion SKNAs can be used to estimate SGNA in dogs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1324-1332
Number of pages9
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2015


  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Stellate ganglion
  • Sympathetic nerve

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