Central command, but not muscle reflex, stimulates cutaneous sympathetic efferents of cats

Janeen M. Hill, Marc P. Kaufman

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11 Scopus citations


We determined the effects of stimulation of the mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR) and the muscle reflex, each evoked separately, on the discharge of cutaneous sympathetic fibers innervating the hairy skin of decerebrate cats. Electrical stimulation of the MLR was performed while the cats were paralyzed with vecuronium bromide. The muscle reflex was evoked while the cats were not paralyzed by electrical stimulation of the tibial nerve at current intensities that did not activate directly group III and IV muscle afferents. MLR stimulation increased, on average, the discharge of the 23 cutaneous sympathetic fibers tested (P < 0.05). The muscle reflex, in contrast, had no overall effect on the discharge of 21 sympathetic fibers tested (P > 0.05). Both maneuvers markedly increased mean arterial pressure and heart rate (P < 0.05). Prevention of the baroreceptor reflex with the α- adrenergic blocking agent phentolamine did not reveal a stimulatory effect of the muscle reflex on cutaneous sympathetic discharge. We conclude that the MLR is a more important mechanism than is the muscle reflex in controlling sympathetic discharge to hairy skin during dynamic exercise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1552-H1559
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5 43-5
StatePublished - May 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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