Effects of electrical stimulation of the superior cervical ganglion on cochlear blood flow in Guinea pig

Tian Ying Ren, E. Laurikainen, W. S. Quirk, J. M. Miller, A. L. Nuttall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


It has been proposed that cochlear blood flow (CBF) is controlled in part by the sympathetic nervous system. In the present study the effect of electrical stimulation of the superior cervical ganglion (SCG) on CBF in guinea pigs was investigated using laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF). Animals were anesthetized with diazepam and fentanyl and the SCG was exposed. A custom-designed bipolar cuff electrode was fixed around the ganglion and 1 ms biphasic current pulses were injected at 0.15 mA to 1.5 mA, 6 Hz. Bilateral CBF was monitored, while the ganglion was stimulated for 3 or 5 min before and after the ascending sympathetic trunk and nerve branches from SCG were sectioned. Electrical stimulation of 0.5 mA caused the ipsilateral CBF (CBFi) to decrease 11.7% ± 1.3 from the baseline (BL), while the contralateral CBF (CBFC) increased slightly due to the change in systemic blood pressure (BP). A linear relation was observed between the level of current stimulation and evoked reduction in CBF. Cervical sympathetic trunk section (between the SCG and the middle cervical ganglion) did not influence the pattern or the amplitude of CBF change in response to electrical stimulation of SCG. Sectioning the efferent fibers of the medial inferior and medial superior branch of the SCG only minimally reduced the amplitude of the CBF decrease evoked by electrical stimulation. However, sectioning the superior lateral branch abolished this decrease. Data of the present study supports the contentions that the sympathetic nervous system plays a significant role in the control of cochlear microcirculation and that the ipsilateral SCG, via the superior lateral branch, probably is the main origin of sympathetic fibers which innervate the cochlear vessels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-151
Number of pages6
JournalActa Oto-Laryngologica
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Cervical sympathetic nerve
  • Inner ear
  • Laser Doppler flowmeter
  • Microcirculation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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