Human arterial responses to isometric exercise: the role of the muscle metaboreflex

TS Davies, Michael Frenneaux, Ross Campbell, Michael White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)


The effects of exercise on the distensibility of large and medium-sized arteries are poorly understood, but can be attributed to a combination of local vasodilator effects of exercise opposed by sympathetic vasoconstrictor tone. We sought to examine this relationship at the conduit artery level, with particular reference to the role of the sympatho-excitatory muscle metaboreflex. The effect of maintained muscle metaboreflex activation on a previously passive or exercised limb femoral artery was investigated. A total of ten healthy volunteers performed 2 min of isometric ankle plantar-flexion at 40% MVC (maximal voluntary force), in conjunction with 2 min of either non-ischaemic isometric HG (handgrip; control condition) or IHG (ischaemic HG) at 40% MVC. IHG was followed by 2 min of PECO (post-exercise circulatory occlusion) to maintain muscle metaboreflex activation. FTPWV [femoral-tibial PWV (pulse wave velocity)] was measured in the exercised or contralateral limb at baseline and immediately following calf exercise. BP (blood pressure) and HR (heart rate) were measured continuously throughout. In the HG condition, BP and HR returned promptly to baseline post-exercise, whereas exercised leg FTPWV was decreased (less stiff) by 0.6 m/s (P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-447
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2007


  • sympathetic nervous system
  • arterial response
  • pulse wave velocity (PWV)
  • exercise
  • conduit artery
  • metaboreflex


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