Sympathetic activity and blood pressure are tightly coupled at 0.4 Hz in conscious rats

D. R. Brown, L. V. Brown, A. Patwardhan, D. C. Randall

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144 Scopus citations


Interactions of sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) with blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) were assessed in conscious rats while they rested quietly in a cloth sock (n = 7), roamed freely in their home cage (n = 6), and then after anesthesia with pentobarbital (30 mg/kg; n = 7). The power and coherence spectra below 3 Hz were calculated from data collected for 9.56 min. In the conscious rat, SNA spectral power peaked at 0.4 Hz, whereas the majority of spectral power for both BP and HR occurred at frequencies lower than 0.4 Hz. However, there was an inconspicuous peak in the BP power spectra at 0.4 Hz that was not seen in the HR spectra. Coherence between SNA and BP peaked at a frequency of ~0.4 Hz, the same frequency at which the SNA spectral peaks occurred. In contrast, at frequencies below 0.4 Hz where maximum BP power occurred, the coherence was considerably lower. Anesthesia with pentobarbital lowered spectral power for BP, SNA, and HR but essentially did not change the coherence between SNA and BP. Interactions between respiration and each of the other variables were weak in the conscious rat. However, prominent respiratory interactions at ~1.2 Hz were evident after anesthesia. These data indicate a close coupling between SNA and BP at 0.4 Hz, raising the possibility that the BP spectral power at 0.4 Hz reliably reflects sympathetic activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R1378-R1384
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5 36-5
StatePublished - 1994


  • Fourier transform
  • anesthesia
  • coherence
  • spectral power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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