Reactive oxygen species modify reflex cardiovascular responses to static contraction

Stefanie Bonigut, Charles L Stebbins, John C. Longhurst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Reactive oxygen species can reflexly activate the cardiovascular system through stimulation of abdominal visceral afferents. The mechanism appears to involve hydroxyl radicals. We tested the hypothesis that reactive oxygen species contribute to the reflex cardiovascular response to static muscle contraction (i.e., the exercise pressor reflex). Thus blood pressure and heart rate responses to 5 min of intermittent electrically stimulated static contraction of the triceps surae muscles (15 s on, 15 s off) in anesthetized cats were compared before and after intravenous administration of the free radical scavengers dimethylthiourea (DMTU; 10 mg/kg; n = 8) or deferoxamine (Def; 10 mg/kg; n = 15). The contraction-induced pressor response was augmented from 51 ± 6 to 61 ± 7 mmHg after treatment with DMTU (P < 0.05) and from 44 ± 8 to 58 ± 8 mmHg after administration of Def (P < 0.05). Corresponding heart rate responses were not affected by either drug. Because this DMTU- or Def-induced augmentation of the exercise pressor reflex may have been due to a reduction in free radical-evoked vasodilation in the contracting skeletal muscle, popliteal artery blood velocity was measured with a Doppler flow transducer before and during contraction in the absence and presence of Def (n = 8). Blood velocity during contraction was not altered by Def (16 ± 5 vs. 24 ± 6 cm/s). These data suggest that reactive oxygen species exert an inhibitory effect on the exercise pressor reflex that is not associated with their local vasodilator properties. This response is opposite to that observed during stimulation of visceral afferents by reactive oxygen species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1207-1212
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1996


  • blood velocity
  • cats
  • deferoxamine
  • dimethylthiourea
  • exercise
  • exercise pressor reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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