Cardiac ischemia and angina pectoris are commonly experienced during exertion in a cold environment. In the current study we tested the hypotheses that oropharyngeal afferent blockade (i.e., local anesthesia of the upper airway with lidocaine) as well as systemic β-adrenergic receptor blockade (i.e., intravenous propranolol) would improve the balance between myocardial oxygen supply and demand in response to the combined stimulus of cold air inhalation (-15 to -30°C) and isometric handgrip exercise (Cold + Grip). Young healthy subjects underwent Cold + Grip following lidocaine, propranolol, and control (no drug). Heart rate, blood pressure, and coronary blood flow velocity (CBV, from Doppler echocardiography) were continuously measured. Rate-pressure product (RPP) was calculated, and changes from baseline were compared between treatments. The change in RPP at the end of Cold + Grip was not different between lidocaine (2,441± 376) and control conditions (3,159± 626); CBV responses were also not different between treatments. With propranolol, heart rate (8± 1 vs. 14± 3 beats/min) and RPP responses to Cold + Grip were significantly attenuated. However, at peak exercise propranolol also resulted in a smaller CBV (1.4± 0.8 vs. 5.3± 1.4 cm/s, P < 0.035), such that the relationship between coronary flow and cardiac metabolism was impaired under propranolol (0.43± 0.37 vs. 2.1± 0.63 arbitrary units). These data suggest that cold air breathing and isometric exercise significantly influence efferent control of coronary blood flow. Additionally, β-adrenergic vasodilation may play a significant role in coronary regulation during exercise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H228-H235
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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