Exercise-induced attenuation of alpha-adrenoceptor mediated vastconstriction in humans: Evidence from phase-contrast MRI

Jim Hansen, Dany Sayad, Gail D. Thomas, Geoffrey D. Clarke, Ronald M Peshock, Ronald G. Victor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective: We recently provided evidence for contraction-induced attenuation of reflex sympathetic vastconstriction in human skeletal muscle microcirculation. We now asked whether contraction-induced modulation of alpha-adrenoceptor mediated vasoconstriction in the human forearm (a) is evident in a large artery supplying the contracting skeletal muscle and (b) implicates a post-junctional site of action. Methods and Results: To address these questions in humans, we used phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging to measure blood flow velocity and cross-sectional area of the brachial artery during brachial-artery infusion of the alpha-adrenoceptor agonist norepinephrine (NE) (1.1 g/min for 5 min) at rest and during mild ipsilateral rhythmic handgrip (20% of maximum). At rest, brachial artery conductance decreased progressively during the entire 5 min period of infusion (baseline to first half to second half of infusion: 0.421±0.157 to 0.255±0.187 to 0.012±0.014 ml/min/mmHg, P<0.05). When NE was superimposed on handgrip, conductance at first decreased sharply (1.205±0.127 to 0.330±0.097 ml/min/mmHg, P<0.05). However, during the second half of the infusion, conductance did not decrease further but rather returned progressively toward baseline (0.476±0.199 ml/min/mmHg at the end of the exercise, P<0.05 vs. NE alone). Conclusion: These data provide new evidence in humans that alpha- adrenoceptor mediated vastconstriction is sensitive to modulation by skeletal muscle contraction. Such modulation is evident at the level of a large conduit artery and it involves a post-junctional mechanism of action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-228
Number of pages9
JournalCardiovascular Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999


  • Adrenoceptor agonists
  • Exercise
  • NMR
  • Regional blood flow
  • Vastconstriction/dilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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