Skeletal muscle and the control of ventilation on exercise: evidence for metabolic receptors

Eur J Clin Invest. 1995 May;25(5):299-305. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2362.1995.tb01705.x.


Patients with chronic heart failure have an increased ventilatory response to exercise, and have metabolically abnormal skeletal muscle. It has been proposed that a neural signal to ventilation arising from exercising muscle may be heightened in chronic heart failure. Our objective was to detect evidence for such a signal in normal subjects by studying ventilatory behaviour during exercise with muscles in different metabolic states. Fifteen normal subjects undertook treadmill exercise both with and without cuffs inflated around each thigh to suprasystolic pressure. In a second experiment, a group of 11 normal subjects undertook cycle exercise using arms or legs at the same absolute work load. Metabolic gas exchange was measured using mass spectrometry with indicator gas dilution. The ventilatory response was greater at a given workload when subjects exercised with inflated cuffs. Oxygen consumption was reduced in keeping with the isolation of the exercising muscle bulk from the circulation. The ventilation/carbon dioxide output relationship was described by a linear regression function, but the slope of the relationship was increased by 25% from 20.9 (0.46) to 25.43 (0.73) (P < 0.001). Arm exercise at the same load as leg exercise resulted in unchanged oxygen consumption indicating that the same external work was being performed. There was an increase in ventilation at a given workload. The ventilation/carbon dioxide output slope was increased by 25% (from 21.9 (0.9) to 26.3 (0.8)) (P < 0.001). There is a signal to ventilation arising from exercising skeletal muscle which is enhanced by the ischaemia induced by cuff inflation during exercise. This signal appears to be neural.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anaerobic Threshold
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange / physiology*
  • Respiration / physiology*


  • Carbon Dioxide