Long-term intermittent high-amplitude subcutaneous nerve stimulation reduces sympathetic tone in ambulatory dogs

Yuan Yuan, Zhaolei Jiang, Ye Zhao, Wei Chung Tsai, Jheel Patel, Lan S. Chen, Changyu Shen, Shien Fong Lin, Huei Sheng Vincent Chen, Thomas H. Everett, Michael C. Fishbein, Zhenhui Chen, Peng Sheng Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Background: Reducing sympathetic efferent outflow from the stellate ganglia (SG) may be antiarrhythmic. Objective: The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that chronic thoracic subcutaneous nerve stimulation (ScNS) could reduce SG nerve activity (SGNA) and control paroxysmal atrial tachycardia (PAT). Methods: Thoracic ScNS was performed in 8 dogs while SGNA, vagal nerve activity (VNA), and subcutaneous nerve activity (ScNA) were monitored. An additional 3 dogs were used for sham stimulation as controls. Results: Xinshu ScNS and left lateral thoracic nerve ScNS reduced heart rate (HR). Xinshu ScNS at 3.5 mA for 2 weeks reduced mean average SGNA from 5.32 μV (95% confidence interval [CI] 3.89–6.75) at baseline to 3.24 μV (95% CI 2.16–4.31; P =.015) and mean HR from 89 bpm (95% CI 80–98) at baseline to 83 bpm (95% CI 76–90; P =.007). Bilateral SG showed regions of decreased tyrosine hydroxylase staining with increased terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling–positive nuclei in 18.47% (95% CI 9.68–46.62) of all ganglion cells, indicating cell death. Spontaneous PAT episodes were reduced from 9.83 per day (95% CI 5.77–13.89) in controls to 3.00 per day (95% CI 0.11–5.89) after ScNS (P =.027). Left lateral thoracic nerve ScNS also led to significant bilateral SG neuronal death and significantly reduced average SGNA and HR in dogs. Conclusion: ScNS at 2 different sites in the thorax led to SG cell death, reduced SGNA, and suppressed PAT in ambulatory dogs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-459
Number of pages9
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018



  • Arrhythmia
  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Nerve Recording
  • Neuromodulation
  • Stellate ganglion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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