Effect of facial cooling and cold air inhalation on sympathetic nerve activity in men

Silke Heindl, Jan Struck, Peter Wellhöner, Friedhelm Sayk, Christoph Dodt*

*Corresponding author for this work
41 Citations (Scopus)


In nine healthy subjects, cold stimuli were administered to the forehead and hand, to the oral and nasal cavities via ice cubes and to the bronchial system via inhalation of cold air (-25°C). Blood pressure, heart rate and muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) from the peroneal nerve were recorded. MSNA expressed as total activity increased during cold air inhalation, cooling of the forehead (P < 0.001, ANOVA), hand and mouth (P ≤ 0.05), paralleled by a rise in blood pressure during cold air inhalation and cooling of the forehead and hand (P < 0.01). Cooling of the forehead provoked a faster increase of MSNA expressed as total activity (P < 0.05) and higher levels of diastolic blood pressure (P = 0.05) compared with cooling of the hand. Bradycardia was observed only during cooling of the nasal cavity (P < 0.001) and the forehead (P < 0.05). It is concluded that cooling of the skin and mucous membranes of the tracheobronchial tract elicits sympathetically mediated hemodynamic adaptations, probably via stimulation of cold-sensitive afferents.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRespiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)69-80
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 20.08.2004


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