Effects of a facial nerve lesion on responses in forehead microvessels to conjunctival irritation and paced breathing


      To investigate parasympathetic influences on the forehead microvasculature, blood flow was monitored bilaterally in seven participants with a unilateral facial nerve lesion during conjunctival irritation with Schirmer's strips and while breathing at 0.15 Hz. Blood flow and slow-wave frequency increased on the intact side of the forehead during Schirmer's test but did not change on the denervated side. However, a 0.15 Hz vascular wave strengthened during paced breathing, particularly on the denervated side. These findings indicate that parasympathetic activity in the facial nerve increases forehead blood flow during minor conjunctival irritation, but may interfere with the 0.15 Hz vascular wave.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Bernardi L.
        • Radaelli A.
        • Solda P.L.
        • Coats A.J.
        • Reeder M.
        • Calciati A.
        • Garrard C.S.
        • Sleight P.
        Autonomic control of skin microvessels: assessment by power spectrum of photoplethysmographic waves.
        Clin. Sci. (Lond.). 1996; 90: 345-355
        • Cysarz D.
        • von Bonin D.
        • Lackner H.
        • Heusser P.
        • Moser M.
        • Bettermann H.
        Oscillations of heart rate and respiration synchronize during poetry recitation.
        Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol. 2004; 287: H579-H587
        • Drummond P.D.
        The mechanism of facial sweating and cutaneous vascular responses to painful stimulation of the eye.
        Brain. 1992; 115: 1417-1428
        • Drummond P.D.
        Mechanisms of physiological gustatory sweating and flushing in the face.
        J. Auton. Nerv. Syst. 1995; 52: 117-124
        • Drummond P.D.
        Lacrimation and cutaneous vasodilatation in the face induced by painful stimulation of the nasal ala and upper lip.
        J. Auton. Nerv. Syst. 1995; 51: 109-116
        • Drummond P.D.
        • O'Brien G.
        Facial nerve activity disrupts psychomotor rhythms in the forehead microvasculature.
        Auton. Neurosci. 2011; 164: 105-108
        • Holowatz L.A.
        • Kenney W.L.
        Peripheral mechanisms of thermoregulatory control of skin blood flow in aged humans.
        J. Appl. Physiol. 2010; 109: 1538-1544
        • Lambert G.A.
        • Bogduk N.
        • Goadsby P.J.
        • Duckworth J.W.
        • Lance J.W.
        Decreased carotid arterial resistance in cats in response to trigeminal stimulation.
        J. Neurosurg. 1984; 61: 307-315
        • Perlitz V.
        • Cotuk B.
        • Lambertz M.
        • Grebe R.
        • Schiepek G.
        • Petzold E.R.
        • Schmid-Schonbein H.
        • Flatten G.
        Coordination dynamics of circulatory and respiratory rhythms during psychomotor drive reduction.
        Auton. Neurosci. 2004; 115: 82-93
        • Perlitz V.
        • Lambertz M.
        • Cotuk B.
        • Grebe R.
        • Vandenhouten R.
        • Flatten G.
        • Petzold E.R.
        • Schmid-Schonbein H.
        • Langhorst P.
        Cardiovascular rhythms in the 0.15-Hz band: common origin of identical phenomena in man and dog in the reticular formation of the brain stem?.
        Pflugers Arch. 2004; 448: 579-591
        • Silverman D.G.
        • Stout R.G.
        Distinction between atropine-sensitive control of microvascular and cardiac oscillatory activity.
        Microvasc. Res. 2002; 63: 196-208
        • Silverman D.G.
        • Stout R.G.
        • Lee F.A.
        • Ferneini E.M.
        Detection and characterization of cholinergic oscillatory control in the forehead microvasculature in response to systemic alpha-agonist infusion in healthy volunteers.
        Microvasc. Res. 2001; 61: 144-147
        • Sleight P.
        • La Rovere M.T.
        • Mortara A.
        • Pinna G.
        • Maestri R.
        • Leuzzi S.
        • Bianchini B.
        • Tavazzi L.
        • Bernardi L.
        Physiology and pathophysiology of heart rate and blood pressure variability in humans: is power spectral analysis largely an index of baroreflex gain?.
        Clin. Sci. (Lond.). 1995; 88: 103-109
        • Soderstrom T.
        • Stefanovska A.
        • Veber M.
        • Svensson H.
        Involvement of sympathetic nerve activity in skin blood flow oscillations in humans.
        Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol. 2003; 284: H1638-H1646
        • Stauss H.M.
        • Anderson E.A.
        • Haynes W.G.
        • Kregel K.C.
        Frequency response characteristics of sympathetically mediated vasomotor waves in humans.
        Am. J. Physiol. 1998; 274: H1277-H1283
        • Wu S.D.
        • Lo P.C.
        Cardiorespiratory phase synchronization during normal rest and inward-attention meditation.
        Int. J. Cardiol. 2010; 141: 325-328