Sympathetic vasoconstrictor nerve function in alcoholic neuropathy

K Jensen, K Andersen, T Smith, O Henriksen, B Melgaard

14 Citationer (Scopus)


The peripheral sympathetic vasomotor nerve function was investigated in 18 male chronic alcoholics admitted for intellectual impairment or polyneuropathy. By means of the local 133Xenon washout technique, the sympathetic veno-arteriolar axon-reflex was studied. This normally is responsible for a 50% decrease in tissue blood flow, when the ankle is lowered 40 cm below heart level in the supine individual. The patients with moderate to severe polyneuropathy, taken as a group, did not differ significantly from the group of patients with no or only mild polyneuropathy, although a lesser response was seen (18% and 48% decrease respectively). However, in three patients with moderate neuropathy, and in one patient with no signs of neuropathy, this veno-arteriolar reflex was absent, indicating dysfunction of the peripheral sympathetic adrenergic nerve fibres. The three patients also showed a lesser degree of arteriolar constriction during 45 degrees passive head-up tilt, although none developed symptoms of orthostatic hypotension. Anhidrosis of the feet was found in only three patients. This study lends support to the view that individual differences in the susceptibility to the deleterious effect of alcohol comprise not only the peripheral sensory and motor nerve fibres, but also the thin pseudomotor and vasomotor nerves.

TidsskriftClinical physiology (Oxford, England)
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)253-62
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - jun. 1984


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