Static muscular contraction has been shown to increase cardiovascular and ventilatory function in reflex manner. The sensory arm of this reflex arc is comprised of group III and IV muscle afferents. The discharge properties of these muscle afferents whose activation causes the pressor reflex response to contraction were investigated. Group III afferents were more responsive to mechanical stimuli, such as tendon stretch and probing their receptive fields than were group IV afferents. In contrast, group III afferents were less responsive to ischemic contraction than were group IV afferents. Equal percentages of group III and IV afferents were stimulated by potassium, lactic acid and arachidonic acid, each of which are metabolic products of contraction. Adenosine, phosphate and lactate, however, had no effect on the discharge of the afferents. Intrathecal injection of antagonists or antibodies to substance P and somatostatin attenuated the pressor response to contraction by about half, a finding that suggests a role for these 2 peptides in the spinal transmission of the reflex.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine