Muscle metaboreflex triggers parallel sympathetic activation in exercising and resting human skeletal muscle

J. Hansen, G. D. Thomas, T. N. Jacobsen, R. G. Victor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations

Abstract

Activation of a metabolically generated reflex in exercising skeletal muscle (muscle metaboreflex) in humans is known to trigger increases in sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) to resting skeletal muscles. In seven healthy human subjects, to determine whether this reflex mechanism also increases SNA to the exercising muscles, we recorded muscle SNA with microelectrodes in the right peroneal nerve and in fascicles of the left peroneal nerve selectively innervating the exercising muscles of the left foot. Subjects performed static toe extension at 20% maximal voluntary contraction alone or in combination with foot ischemia. Only static toe extension at 20% MVC during ischemia activated the muscle metaboreflex. This paradigm caused increases in SNA to exercising muscle that paralleled those to the resting muscles: during the first minute of exercise SNA was unchanged, but during the second minute SNA increased from 29 ± 2 to 38 ± 2 bursts/min (P < 0.05) to the exercising muscles and from 30 ± 3 to 40 ± 2 bursts/min (P < 0.05) to the resting muscles. These bilateral increases in SNA were maintained when metaboreflex activation was sustained by postexercise foot ischemia. In conclusion, these data provide neurophysiological evidence that the muscle metaboreflex evokes parallel sympathetic activation in exercising and resting human skeletal muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H2508-H2514
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Volume266
Issue number6 35-6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

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