The aim of this study is to determine the recruitment pattern among individual vasoconstrictor neurons under the baroreceptor-mediated influence in man. Spikes of single vasoconstrictor units were detected from microneurograms with a template-matching method. A total of 39 single vasoconstrictor units were detected. Single vasoconstrictor units were different from each other in their susceptibility to be activated in response to changes in the R-R interval or blood pressure. The units with higher firing probability had a shorter threshold R-R interval and a higher threshold diastolic blood pressure than units with lower firing probability. In sympathetic responses consisting of only one spike (single-spike responses), units with a lower threshold frequently appeared and units with a higher threshold joined mull-spike responses. The units with a short threshold R-R interval tended to have a long inhibitory latency from R wave, suggesting low conduction velocity. The correlation between firing probability and firing threshold and that between appearance in single-spike response and multi-spike response suggest a hierarchical manner of recruitment of vasoconstrictor units. For beat-to-beat responses, however, some deviation from the hierarchical recruitment was also observed.
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