Control of Skin Sympathetic Nerve Activity during Intermittent Static Handgrip Exercise

Urs A. Leuenberger, Sogol Mostoufi-Moab, Michael Herr, Kristen Gray, Allen Kunselman, Lawrence I. Sinoway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background - Exercise activates the sympathetic nervous system as a function of the type and intensity of exercise and of the target organ studied. Although central command and activity of metabolically sensitive afferents from exercising muscle are the principal determinants of sympathetic outflow directed to skeletal muscle, the mechanisms that govern sympathetic outflow directed to skin are less clear. Methods and Results - We measured skin sympathetic nerve activity (SSNA) during intermittent static handgrip (SHG; at 45% of maximal voluntary contraction; four 5-second contractions per minute for 3 minutes), during unrestricted forearm perfusion (control), during stimulation of forearm mechanoreceptors with venous congestion, and during ischemia produced by forearm circulatory arrest. Under all 3 conditions, SSNA increased within 1 to 2 seconds of the onset of handgrip. During ischemia but not during venous congestion, SSNA increased more compared with control (P<0.05) and remained elevated when forearm ischemia was maintained after handgrip exercise (posthandgrip circulatory arrest). In addition, simulated handgrip and intermittent forearm compression produced by a pneumatic cuff also evoked brief increases of SSNA. Conclusions - In addition to central neural factors, afferent input from exercising muscle plays an important role in modulating sympathetic outflow directed to skin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2329-2335
Number of pages7
Issue number19
StatePublished - Nov 11 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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