Microneurographic studies of the mechanisms of sympathetic nerve responses to static exercise in humans

A L Mark, R G Victor, C Nerhed, B G Wallin
1985 Circulation Research  
The purpose of this study was to determine the contribution of muscle afferents and central command in regulating sympathetic nerve activity during static exercise in humans. In 20 healthy subjects, we recorded heart rate, arterial pressure, and efferent sympathetic nerve activity in the leg during arm exercise. Microelectrodes were inserted percutaneously into a fascicle of the peroneal nerve to measure sympathetic discharge to muscle. Measurements were obtained in nine subjects during
more » ... d handgrip (30% maximal voluntary contraction) followed by relaxation or by arrested circulation of the forearm. Heart rate and arterial pressure increased during the first and second minutes of handgrip. Muscle sympathetic nerve activity increased from 261 ± 46 to 504 ± 97 units (mean ± SE; units = burst frequency x amplitude; P < 0.05) during the second minute of handgrip. During forearm ischemia following handgrip, heart rate returned promptly to control, whereas arterial pressure and muscle sympathetic nerve activity (631 ±115 units) remained elevated. In contrast, muscle sympathetic nerve activity returned toward control during relaxation without arrested circulation. These data indicate that muscle sympathetic nerve activity is increased by stimulation of chemically sensitive muscle afferents. To determine the influence of central command on muscle sympathetic nerve activity, we compared responses during ar. involuntary and a voluntary biceps contraction, each at 20% maximal voluntary contraction. Both maneuvers raised arterial pressure, but heart rate increased only during voluntary contraction. More importantly, muscle sympathetic nerve activity rose during involuntary contraction, but fell during voluntary effort. These studies demonstrate that during sustained handgrip in humans, stimulation of chemically sensitive muscle afferents increases muscle sympathetic nerve activity in the leg, and central command causes tachycardia, but inhibits muscle sympathetic outflow in the leg. (Circ Res 57: 461-469, 1985)
doi:10.1161/01.res.57.3.461 pmid:4028348 fatcat:m73j35ahdneupnvb5wq3mlndha