Author(s): Seals DR
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Abstract The primary purpose of this study was to determine whether the sympathetic neural activation induced by isometric exercise is influenced by the size of the contracting muscle mass. To address this, in nine healthy subjects (aged 19-27 yr) we measured heart rate, systolic arterial blood pressure, and muscle sympathetic nerve activity in the leg (MSNA; peroneal nerve) before (control) and during 2.5 min of isometric handgrip exercise (30\% of maximal voluntary force). Exercise was performed with the right and left arms separately and with both arms simultaneously (random order). During exercise, heart rate, systolic pressure, and MSNA increased above control under all conditions (P less than 0.05). For each variable, the magnitudes of the increases from control to the end of exercise were significantly greater when exercise was performed with two arms compared with either arm alone (P less than 0.05). In general, the increases in heart rate, systolic pressure, and MSNA elicited during two-arm exercise were significantly less than the simple sums of the responses evoked during exercise of each arm separately. These findings indicate that the magnitude of the sympathetic neural activation evoked during isometric exercise in humans is determined in part by the size of the active muscle mass. In addition, our results suggest that the sympathetic cardiovascular adjustments elicited during exercise of separate limbs are not simply additive but instead exhibit an inhibitory interaction (i.e., neural occlusion).
This article was published in J Appl Physiol (1985)
and referenced in Journal of Novel Physiotherapies