BACKGROUND: The sympathetic baroreflex (sBR) adjusts muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) in response to arterial pressure changes but the relevance of assessing sBR control complexity is unclear.
OBJECTIVE: We propose a method for the evaluation of sBR control complexity.
APPROACH: The approach comprises the quantification of complexity of the sBR latency regulation and the assessment of complexity of the relationship linking MSNA burst to R-wave peak regardless of the variability of the sBR latency. The Shannon entropy (SE) of the sBR latency distribution is taken as an estimate of complexity of the sBR latency regulation. The conditional entropy (CE) of the beat-to-beat binary series obtained by coding the presence/absence of the MSNA burst after an R-wave peak is taken as an estimate of complexity of the sBR control regardless of the sBR latency variability. Surrogate analysis was utilized to set the level of inactive or impaired sBR. The approach was applied to 10 young healthy subjects undergoing head-up tilt (HUT) followed by lower body negative pressure to evoke presyncope (preSYNC) before and after 21 d head-down bed rest (HDBR), and to five amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients undergoing HUT.
MAIN RESULTS: In healthy subjects the surrogate analysis suggested that HUT and preSYNC significantly activated the sBR control but its response was weakened after 21 d HDBR. During preSYNC sBR latency increased significantly only after 21 d HDBR. In ALS patients the complexity of the sBR latency regulation was close to the level set by surrogate analysis and HUT did not trigger any sBR control response.
SIGNIFICANCE: The proposed method for sBR control complexity quantification was useful in detecting the impairment of the sBR control after 21 d HDBR in healthy subjects and the dysfunction of the sBR regulation in ALS patients.