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J Auton Nerv Syst. 1996 Mar 7;57(3):136-40.

Attractors and quasi-attractors in the cutaneous perfusion in human subjects and patients: "chaotic" or adaptive behaviour?

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Institut für Physiologie, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technischen Hochschule Aachen, Germany.


The causes of the aperiodic fluctuations in the perfusion of the skin (volar hand, measured by the Laser-Doppler (LD) technique) of healthy human subjects were studied were studied by simultaneous recording of the fluctuations of local blood content (reflectiophotoplethysmography (rPPG)) and those in the skin of the glabella. Various thermoregulatory situations were provoked by exposing 12 subjects to 18, 21, 24 and 27 degrees C ambient temperature; in addition, the hands were placed at, below and above heart level. In mentally relaxed subjects (evidenced by a stable approx. 0.015-Hz rhythm in the glabellar rPPG signal), there was perfect temporal correlation between aperiodic LDA and rPPG signal under all thermoregulatory conditions. Clearly identifiable episodes of retardation associated with skin bleaching, asymmetrical shape of LDA and rPPG signals were taken as indicators of episodic sympathetic skin constrictor (SSC) activity. In synergetic terms, the modulated SSC activity operates as transient "quasi-attractor'. A notable exception occurred: when the hand was placed below heart at 27 degrees C ambient temperature, a sinusoidal periodic fluctuation (approx. 0.03 Hz) in the LDA evolved. These were not seen the rPPG signal, i.e., coherence between LDA and rPPG dynamics was lost). Lack of coherency between LDA-rPPG, also observed in patients with autonomic neuropathy and decompensated forms of peripheral arterial disease, suggesting predominance of spontaneously oscillating myogenic vasomotion after removal of temporally variable SSC drive. Stable vasomotion is regarded as a synergetically stereotyped reaction rather than as "well-ordered' stable attractor mode of operation.

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