Dynamic carotid baroreflex control of the peripheral circulation during exercise in humans

D. Walter Wray, Paul J. Fadel, David M. Keller, Shigehiko Ogoh, Mikael Sander, Peter B. Raven, Michael L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We sought to determine the dynamic relationship between carotid baroreflex (CBR)-mediated control and local control of the skeletal muscle vasculature during dynamic exercise. In 12 subjects (18-35 years old), oscillatory neck pressure (NP, +40 mmHg) was applied at 0.1 Hz (i.e. 5 s on, 5 s off) for 5 min to determine the degree of CBR control over heart rate (HR), arterial blood pressure (ABP), muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA), femoral blood velocity and skeletal muscle tissue oxygenation at rest and during 7 W dynamic knee-extension exercise. Skeletal muscle tissue oxygenation measurements of both the exercising and nonexercising leg were evaluated. Fast Fourier transformation was performed on 5 min segments to calculate spectral power of the R-R interval (RRI), ABP, MSNA, femoral blood velocity and tissue oxygenation time series, and the low-frequency (LF, 0.085-0.115 Hz) power spectra were compared to evaluate the degree of CBR-mediated entrainment for each variable. At rest, sinusoidal NP significantly increased LF spectral power of RRI, ABP, MSNA and femoral blood velocity. During exercise, sinusoidal NP provoked a similar increase in spectral power for RRI and MSNA, while CBR-mediated changes in ABP and femoral blood velocity were attenuated compared to rest. Changes in spectral power of skeletal muscle tissue oxygenation during sinusoidal NP were similar between the exercising and nonexercising leg at rest. However, during exercise the changes in skeletal muscle tissue oxygenation power were significantly less in the exercising leg, while changes in the nonexercising leg were similar to rest. We have demonstrated simultaneous entrainment of all CBR end-organ measurements, ranging from cardiac chronotropic effects to alterations at the level of the skeletal muscle microcirculation. Moreover, we have identified a significant and specific attenuation of end-organ responsiveness to CBR-mediated sympathoexcitation in the vasculature of the exercising muscle. However, despite a shift towards more predominant local control over the exercising muscle vasculature, systemic arterial blood pressure was well preserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-684
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2004


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