Dissociation of muscle sympathetic nerve activity and leg vascular resistance in humans

J. Kevin Shoemaker, Michael D. Herr, Lawrence I. Sinoway

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45 Scopus citations


We examined the hypothesis that the increase in inactive leg vascular resistance during forearm metaboreflex activation is dissociated from muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA). MSNA (microneurography), femoral artery mean blood velocity (FAMBV, Doppler), mean arterial pressure (MAP), and heart rate (HR) were assessed during fatiguing static handgrip exercise (SHG, 2 min) followed by posthandgrip ischemia (PHI, 2 min). Whereas both MAP and MSNA increase during SHG, the transition from SHG to PHI is characterized by a transient reduction in MAP but sustained elevation in MSNA, facilitating separation of these factors in vivo. Femoral artery vascular resistance (FAVR) was calculated (MAP/MBV). MSNA increased by 59 ± 20% above baseline during SHG (P < 0.05) and was 58 ± 18 and 78 ± 18% above baseline at 10 and 20 s of PHI, respectively (P < 0.05 vs. baseline). Compared with baseline, FAVR increased 51 ± 22% during SHG (P < 0.0001) but returned to baseline levels during the first 30 s of PHI, reflecting the changes in MAP (P < 0.005) and not MSNA. It was concluded that control of leg muscle vascular resistance is sensitive to changes in arterial pressure and can be dissociated from sympathetic factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1215-H1219
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number3 48-3
StatePublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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