Recording and quantifying sympathetic outflow to muscle and skin in humans: methods, caveats and challenges

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The development of microneurography, in which the electrical activity of axons can be recorded via an intrafascicular microelectrode inserted through the skin into a peripheral nerve in awake human participants, has contributed a great deal to our understanding of sensorimotor control and the control of sympathetic outflow to muscle and skin. This review summarises the different approaches to recording muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) and skin sympathetic nerve activity (SSNA), together with discussion on the issues that determine the quality of a recording. Various analytical approaches are also described, with a primary emphasis on those developed by the author, aimed at maximizing the information content from recordings of postganglionic sympathetic nerve activity in awake humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-75
Number of pages17
JournalClinical Autonomic Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Microelectrodes
  • Microneurography
  • Multi-unit recording
  • Muscle sympathetic nerve activity
  • Single-unit recording
  • Skin sympathetic nerve activity

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