The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that extrinsic mechanical factors, i.e., the dynamic shortening and lengthening imposed on a muscle during limb movements and the rhythmic compressions as surrounding muscles contract and relax, contribute to the initial muscle hyperemia during locomotion in conscious male Sprague-Dawley rats. Soleus and lateral head of gastrocnemius muscles were surgically denervated in one hindlimb several hours before exercise to remove 1) local metabolic vasodilator effects, 2) vasoconstrictor or vasodilatory influences mediated through sympathetic postganglionic fibers, and 3) intrinsic mechanical pumping. Blood flow was measured with radioactive microspheres during preexercise and at 30 s and 5 min of exercise in rats walking at 15 m/min or a motor-driven treadmill. Glycogen concentrations were also measured as an indicator of muscular activity to verify the denervation. Blood flows to control muscles in the normal limb were similar to previously reported values during preexercise and exercise. Denervation, however, decreased preexercise blood flow (69–88%) to muscle composed predominantly of oxidative fibers and increased flow (53%) to muscle composed predominantly of glycolytic fibers. During exercise, blood flow to denervated muscles either remained unchanged or decreased. These data suggest that extrinsic mechanical factors do not significantly contribute to the initial hyperemic response at the onset of low-intensity exercise in normal muscle.
- Copyright © 1988 the American Physiological Society