This investigation was designed to determine the role of intramuscular pressure-sensitive mechanoreceptors and chemically sensitive metaboreceptors in affecting the blood pressure response to dynamic exercise in humans. Sixteen subjects performed incremental (20 W/min) cycle exercise to fatigue under four conditions: control, exercise with thigh cuff occlusion of 90 Torr (Cuff occlusion), exercise with lower body positive pressure (LBPP) of 45 Torr, and a combination of thigh cuff occlusion and LBPP (combination). Indexes of central command (heart rate, oxygen uptake, ratings of perceived exertion, and electromyographic activity), cardiac output, stroke volume, and total peripheral resistance were not significantly different between the four conditions. Mechanical stimulation during LBPP and combination conditions resulted in significant elevations in intramuscular pressure and mean arterial pressure from control at rest and throughout the incremental exercise protocol (P < 0.05). Conversely, there existed no significant changes in mean arterial pressure when the metaboreflex was stimulated by cuff occlusion. These findings suggest that under normal conditions the mechanoreflex is tonically active and is the primary mediator of exercise pressor reflex-induced alterations in arterial blood pressure during submaximal dynamic exercise in humans.
- Exercise pressor reflex