Neural control of the forearm cutaneous vasoconstrictor response to dynamic exercise

D. B. Friedman, J. M. Johnson, J. H. Mitchell, N. H. Secher

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15 Scopus citations


This study was designed to evaluate the relative importance of intended effort ('central command') and of the absolute intensity of dynamic exercise to the cutaneous vasoconstrictor response to the onset of exercise in humans. Skin blood flow (laser-Doppler flowmetry) was measured from the forearm in six healthy individuals during 3-min periods of high- and low-intensity exercise with and without partial neuromuscular blockade. Cutaneous vascular conductance (CVC) was calculated from the ratio of skin blood flow to mean arterial pressure and expressed as a percent change from rest. A rating of perceived exertion (RPE) was expressed as a subjective measure of intended effort. Under control conditions, CVC decreased by 22% (median; range 7-42%, P < 0.05) during high-intensity exercise [218 (186-268) W; RPE 16 (14-19) exertion units]. In contrast, during control low-intensity exercise [106 (88- 128) W; RPE 10 (9-14) exertion units], during low-level exercise with curare [77 (54-98) W; RPE 13 (11-16) exertion units], and during maximal exercise with curare [106 (88-124) W; RPE 19 (18-20) exertion units], CVC did not change significantly. These results suggest that factors related to the activity of the exercising muscle and its metabolism rather than intended effort determine the cutaneous vasoconstrictor response to the initiation of intense dynamic exercise in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1892-1896
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1991


  • blood pressure
  • heart rate
  • humans
  • rating of perceived exertion
  • reflex control
  • skin blood flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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