Reflex cardiovascular and respiratory responses originating in exercising muscle

J Physiol. 1972 Jul;224(1):173-86. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1972.sp009887.


1. In anaesthetized and decerebrate cats isometric exercise of the hind limb muscles was elicited by stimulating the spinal ventral roots L7-S1. This caused a rise in arterial blood pressure, with small increases in heart rate and pulmonary ventilation. These changes were abolished by cutting the dorsal roots receiving afferents from the exercising muscle.2. When the triceps surae muscle was made to exercise by ventral root stimulation, occlusion of the femoral artery and vein through and beyond the period of exercise caused the blood pressure to remain raised until the occlusion was removed. The ventilatory and heart rate responses were not markedly altered or prolonged by such circulatory occlusion.3. Injection of small volumes of 5% NaCl or isotonic KCl into the arterial blood supplying hind limb muscles gave cardiovascular and respiratory responses similar to those evoked by exercise. Like the responses to exercise, these responses were abolished by dorsal root section.4. Direct current anodal block of the dorsal roots receiving afferents from the exercising muscle was used to block preferentially large myelinated fibres: this form of block did not abolish the evoked cardiovascular and respiratory responses. Local anaesthetic block of the dorsal roots was used to block preferentially unmyelinated and small myelinated fibres: this form of block abolished the cardiovascular and respiratory responses. It is concluded that the reflex responses are mediated by fibres within groups III and IV (small myelinated fibres and unmyelinated fibres).

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Cats
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Heart Rate*
  • Hindlimb
  • Muscles / innervation
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / physiology
  • Neural Inhibition
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Potassium Chloride / pharmacology
  • Reflex*
  • Respiration*
  • Sodium Chloride / pharmacology


  • Sodium Chloride
  • Potassium Chloride