A preliminary study on the arrangement of sympathetic fibres within the human common fibular nerve

      Recently, interest has grown in the firing patterns of individual or multi-unit action potentials (AP) in human muscle sympathetic nerve recordings using microneurography. Little is known, however, about sympathetic fibre distribution in human lower limb nerves that will affect the multi-unit recordings. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the sympathetic fibre distribution within the human common fibular nerve using immunohistochemical techniques (tyrosine hydroxylase, avidin–biotin complex technique). Left and right common fibular nerves were taken from three human cadavers (83±11 years) within 24 h of death. Nerves were fixed in formaldehyde, and five micrometre transverse and ten micrometre longitudinal sections were taken. Samples of adrenal gland and brain served as controls. Sympathetic fibre arrangement varied between left and right nerves of the same donor, and between donors. In general, sympathetic fibres were dispersed throughout the ~20–35 fascicles of the common fibular nerve, with a general localization to the lateral aspect. The fibres appear to be grouped in bundles of ~3–10 axons or expressed individually throughout the fascicles. These findings suggest a topographical organisation of sympathetic fibres within the common fibular nerve, and provide the anatomical basis for outcomes in microneurographic studies. Supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
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