Opioid receptor modulation of postexercise hypotension

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1992 Oct;24(10):1108-13.


Previous studies of both hypertensive and normotensive individuals have indicated a prolonged reduction in blood pressure for several hours after aerobic exercise. In related studies of spontaneously hypertensive rats, this postexercise hypotension has been prevented with naloxone. The purpose of the present investigation was to examined whether the postexercise hypotension may be reversed by antagonism of opioid sensitive receptors with naloxone in normotensive humans. Eight males 22-34 yr of age, participated in two 60-min cycling trials at 60% of VO2 peak, followed by 29 min of recovery. Beginning at 7-min recovery, naloxone or saline (control) was administered intravenously through an indwelling catheter. Blood pressure and heart rate were monitored every 15 min during exercise and every 2 min during recovery. Heart rate was significantly elevated (P < 0.05) over basal levels for the first 11 min of recovery, but from 13 to 29 min was not different from that measured at rest. In both trials, after 11 min of recovery, systolic and mean arterial blood pressures were significantly (P < 0.05) lower than pre-exercise levels (9 +/- 1 mm Hg and 4 +/- 1 mm Hg, respectively). Injection of naloxone (0.1 mg.kg-1) reversed the hypotensive response. However, the reversal was transient, lasting from minutes 15 to 27. Since naloxone reverses postexercise hypotension, opioid sensitive receptors appear to be involved in the reduction in systolic blood pressure following a single bout of submaximal exercise in normotensive humans.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Naloxone / pharmacology
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • Receptors, Opioid / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Receptors, Opioid
  • Naloxone