Menstrual cycle effects on sympathetic neural burst amplitude distribution during orthostasis in young women

Chueh Lung Hwang, Kazunobu Okazaki, Shigeki Shibata, Yu Lun Liu, Qi Fu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Fluctuations in ovarian hormones during the menstrual cycle impact muscle sympathetic nerve activity burst frequency and burst incidence at rest. The purpose of this study was to investigate menstrual cycle effects on sympathetic neural burst amplitude distribution during an orthostatic challenge in young women. Methods: This study included 11 healthy women (33 ± 10 years [mean ± standard deviation]). Muscle sympathetic nerve activity was measured in the supine position as baseline measurement and during 5 min of 60° upright tilting, during the early follicular phase (low estrogen and progesterone) and mid-luteal phase (high estrogen and progesterone) of the menstrual cycle. Relative burst amplitude distribution of muscle sympathetic nerve activity was characterized by the mean, median, skewness, and kurtosis. Results: From the supine to upright position, mean and median values of relative burst amplitude increased (both P < 0.05), regardless of phases of the menstrual cycle (P = 0.5 and P = 0.7, respectively). In comparison, during the early follicular phase, skewness and kurtosis remained unchanged (P = 0.6 and P = 0.3, respectively) and kurtosis decreased (1.25 ± 1.11 supine vs. − 0.03 ± 0.73 upright; P = 0.02); there was no change in skewness during the mid-luteal phase (P = 0.4). Conclusions: In response to orthostasis, while the symmetry and tailedness/peakness of burst amplitude distribution do not change during the early follicular phase, the distribution during the mid-luteal phase becomes flatter with a lower but broader peak. The latter result suggests that the firing probability of large axon action potentials in response to orthostatic challenge is higher when estrogen and progesterone levels are elevated. The role of changes in sympathetic neural burst amplitude distribution in orthostatic tolerance remains to be determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-773
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Autonomic Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Autonomic function
  • Orthostatic intolerance
  • Ovarian cycle
  • Sympathoexcitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Clinical Neurology


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