Although angina pectoris in patients with coronary heart disease often occurs when their forearms are in an elevated position for a prolonged period, and sympathetic activation is a major cause of this condition, little is known about the physiological effects of forearm elevation on sympathetic activity during forearm exercise. We hypothesized that forearm elevation augments sympathetic activation during the static handgrip exercise in humans. A total of 10 healthy male volunteers performed 2min of static handgrip exercise at 30% of maximal voluntary contraction followed by 2min of post-exercise muscle ischaemia (PEMI; specific activation of the muscle metaboreflex) with two forearm positions: the exercising forearm was elevated 50cm above the heart (forearm-elevated trial) or fixed at the level of the heart (heart-level trial). Muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA), blood pressure and heart rate were monitored. MSNA increased during handgrip exercise in both forearm positions (P<0.001); the increase was 51% greater in the forearm-elevated trial (516±99 arbitrary units) than in the heart-level trial (346±44units; P<0.05). The increase in mean blood pressure was 8.4mmHg greater during exercise in the forearm-elevated trial (P<0.05), while changes in heart rate were similar in both forearm positions. The increase in MSNA during PEMI was 71% greater in the forearm-elevated trial (393±71 arbitrary units/min) than in the heart-level trial (229±29units/min; P<0.05). These results support the hypothesis that forearm elevation augments sympathetic activation during handgrip exercise. The excitatory effect of forearm elevation on exercising MSNA may be mediated primarily by increased activation of the muscle metaboreflex.
Forearm elevation augments sympathetic activation during handgrip exercise in humans
Daisaku MICHIKAMI, Atsunori KAMIYA, Qi FU, Yuki NIIMI, Satoshi IWASE, Tadaaki MANO, Akio SUZUMURA; Forearm elevation augments sympathetic activation during handgrip exercise in humans. Clin Sci (Lond) 1 September 2002; 103 (3): 295–301. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/cs1030295
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