Decrement of the skin conductance response to repeated volitional inspiration

Margaret Seto-Poon, Melanie Madronio, Jason P. Kirkness, Terence C. Amis, Karen Byth, Chong Lee Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To examine response decrement of the recently reported inspiratory skin conductance response (SCR) [Lim CL, Seto-Poon M, Clouston PD, Morris JG. Sudomotor nerve conduction velocity and central processing time of the skin conductance response. Clin Neurophysiol 2003;114:2172-80]. Methods: Twelve healthy adult volunteers performed 3 tasks (A) a control task of maintaining tidal breathing and then two randomized tasks, (B) a deep inspiration to a target oral pressure and (C) tapping with a finger. Each task was performed 30 times on cue every 20 s in 3 runs with 5 min of rest between runs. The SCR, oral pressure, airflow, inspired volume and cue signal were recorded continuously and analysed offline. SCR amplitude was logarithmically transformed and then statistically analysed, using a linear mixed effects model, as a function of run number, trial number and absolute error between target and actual oral pressures. Results: Inspiratory efforts elicited exponentially decreasing SCR amplitude with increasing trial number during each run (P<0.0001). After adjusting for trial number, the mean SCR amplitude of the second and the third run were, respectively, 24.2 (95% CI (0.175, 0.336), P<0.001) and 14.4% (95% CI (0.104, 0.200), P<0.001) of the first run amplitude. Conclusions: Volitional deep inspiration reliably activates an SCR that exhibits response decrement with repetition, which may be habituation. Significance: The volitional inspiratory SCR may assist in the assessment of sympathetic autonomic status in patients with peripheral afferent neuropathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1172-1180
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005


  • Afferent
  • Efferent skin conductance response
  • Habituation
  • Inspiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)

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