Characteristics of the carotid baroreflex in man during normal and flow-restricted exercise.

Acta physiologica Scandinavica

PubMedID: 1585815

Eiken O, Convertino VA, Doerr DF, Dudley GA, Morariu G, Mekjavic IB. Characteristics of the carotid baroreflex in man during normal and flow-restricted exercise. Acta Physiol Scand. 1992;144(3):325-31.
Eight subjects were studied in the supine position at rest, during normal dynamic leg exercise (control exercise) and with blood-flow restriction in the working legs (flow-restricted exercise). Graded muscle blood-flow restriction was accomplished by applying a supra-atmospheric pressure of 50 mmHg to the working legs. During incremental-load exercise, flow restriction reduced exercise performance and peak heart rate by 36% and 13%, respectively. The function of the cardiac branch of the carotid baroreflex was studied over its full operational range, at rest and during constant-load control and flow-restricted exercise, by measuring R-R intervals during application of pulse-synchronous graded pressures (40 to -65 mmHg) in a neck-chamber device. Heart rate and arterial pressure were higher during flow-restricted than control exercise, indicating that the flow restriction activated the muscle chemoreflex. Raising the carotid transmural pressure (systolic arterial pressure minus neck-chamber pressure) was accompanied by increasing R-R intervals in all conditions. The set point (point of baseline carotid transmural pressure and R-R interval) coincided with the midportion of the pressure-response curve at rest and with the threshold point of the curve during exercise. The maximal rate of change in relative R-R intervals and the corresponding carotid transmural pressure range were higher during control exercise than at rest and highest during flow-restricted exercise, indicating that exercise and especially flow-restricted exercise increased carotid baroflex sensitivity, and shifted the carotid baroreflex optimal buffering range to higher pressures. The results suggest that the carotid baroflex attenuates exercise heart rate increases mediated by the muscle chemoreflex and/or by central command.