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Comparison of sympathetic nerve responses to neck and forearm isometric exercisePURPOSE: Although the autonomic and cardiovascular responses to arm and leg exercise have been studied, the sympathetic adjustments to exercise of the neck have not. The purpose of the present study was twofold: 1) to determine sympathetic and cardiovascular responses to isometric contractions of the neck extensors and 2) to compare sympathetic and cardiovascular responses to isometric exercise of the neck and forearm. METHODS: Muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA), mean arterial pressure (MAP), and heart rate were measured in nine healthy subjects while performing isometric neck extension (INE) and isometric handgrip (IHG) in the prone position. After a 3-min baseline period, subjects performed three intensities of INE for 2.5 min each: 1) unloaded (supporting head alone), 2) 10% maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), and 3) 30% MVC, then subjects performed two intensities (10% and 30% MVC) of IHG for 2.5 min. RESULTS: Supporting the head by itself did not significantly change any of the variables. During [NE, MAP significantly increased by 10 +/- 2 and 31 +/- 4 mm Hg and MSNA increased by 67 +/- 46 and 168 +/- 36 units/30 s for 10% and 30% MVC, respectively. IHG and INE evoked similar responses at 10% MVC, but IHG elicited higher peak MAP and MSNA at 30% MVC (37 +/- 7 mm Hg (P < 0.05) and 300 +/- 48 units/30 s (P < 0.01) for IHG, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: The data indicate that INE can elicit marked increases in MSNA and cardiovascular responses but that it evokes lower peak responses as compared to IHG. We speculate that possible differences in muscle fiber type composition, muscle mass, and/or muscle architecture of the neck and forearm are responsible for these differences in peak responses.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Steele, S. L. Jr
(University of Georgia Athens 30602, United States)
Ray, C. A.
Date Acquired
August 22, 2013
Publication Date
June 1, 2000
Publication Information
Publication: Medicine and science in sports and exercise
Volume: 32
Issue: 6
ISSN: 0195-9131
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
NASA Discipline Neuroscience
Non-NASA Center
NASA Program Biomedical Research and Countermeasures
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