Sympathetic nerve activity to nonactive muscle of the exercising and nonexercising limb

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1995 Feb;27(2):183-7.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether efferent sympathetic nerve activity is different to resting skeletal muscles from the exercising and nonexercising limb. MSNA was measured by microneurography in both legs (peroneal nerve) in six subjects during 2 min of unilateral isometric knee extension (IKE; 10-30% of maximum voluntary contraction (MVC)) followed by postexercise circulatory occlusion (PECO). Additional studies using isometric handgrip (30% MVC) followed by PECO were performed. IKE produced significant increases in mean arterial pressure (15 +/- 2 mm Hg) and heart rate (10 +/- 2 bpm). During PECO, mean arterial pressure remained significantly elevated (6 +/- 1 mm Hg) whereas heart rate returned to control. MSNA (bursts.min-1) was not different between the two limbs during control, IKE, PECO, and recovery. Seventy-five to eighty percent of all sympathetic nerve discharges occurred simultaneously in both legs, with the remaining percentage of sympathetic nerve discharges being divided almost equally between the nonexercising and exercising leg. Isometric handgrip produced significant increases in MSNA to the two resting legs with the percent of sympathetic discharges to the two legs being similar to that during IKE. These results indicate that MSNA is similar to the resting muscle in the exercising and nonexercising leg during brief, submaximal isometric exercise (< or = 30% MVC) and postexercise muscle ischemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg / innervation*
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation*
  • Peroneal Nerve / physiology
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiology*