The blood pressure response to exercise is exaggerated in the type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). An overactive exercise pressor reflex (EPR) contributes to the potentiated pressor response. However, the mechanism(s) underlying this abnormal EPR activity remains unclear. This study tested the hypothesis that the heightened blood pressure response to exercise in T1DM is mediated by EPR-induced sympathetic overactivity. Additionally, the study examined whether the single muscle afferents are sensitized by PKC (protein kinase C) activation in this disease. Sprague-Dawley rats were intraperitoneally administered either 50 mg/kg streptozotocin (T1DM) or saline (control). At 1 to 3 weeks after administration, renal sympathetic nerve activity and mean arterial pressure responses to activation of the EPR, mechanoreflex, and metaboreflex were measured in decerebrate animals. Action potential responses to mechanical and chemical stimulation were determined in group IV afferents with pPKCα (phosphorylated-PKCα) levels assessed in dorsal root ganglia. Compared with control, EPR (58±18 versus 96±33%; P<0.05), mechanoreflex (21±13 versus 51±20%; P<0.05), and metaboreflex (40±20 versus 88±39%; P<0.01) activation in T1DM rats evoked significant increases in renal sympathetic nerve activity as well as mean arterial pressure. The response of group IV afferents to mechanical (18±24 versus 61±45 spikes; P<0.01) and chemical (0.3±0.4 versus 1.6±0.8 Hz; P<0.01) stimuli were significantly greater in T1DM than control. T1DM rats showed markedly increased pPKCα levels in dorsal root ganglia compared with control. These data suggest that in T1DM, abnormally muscle reflex-evoked increases in sympathetic activity mediate exaggerations in blood pressure. Further, sensitization of muscle afferents, potentially via PKC activation, may contribute to this abnormal circulatory responsiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1072-1081
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • acute exercise
  • blood pressure
  • diabetes mellitus, type 1
  • neurons, afferent
  • protein kinase C
  • reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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