The exercise pressor reflex and active O2 transport in peripheral arterial disease

Jon Stavres, Christopher T. Sica, Cheryl Blaha, Michael Herr, Jianli Wang, Samuel Pai, Aimee Cauffman, Jeffrey Vesek, Qing X. Yang, Lawrence I. Sinoway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


It is unclear if the exaggerated exercise pressor reflex observed in peripheral arterial disease (PAD) patients facilitates Oxygen (O2) transport during presymptomatic exercise. Accordingly, this study compared O2 transport between PAD patients and healthy controls during graded presymptomatic work. Seven PAD patients and seven healthy controls performed dynamic plantar flexion in the bore of a 3T MRI scanner. Perfusion, T2* (an index of relative tissue oxygenation), and SvO2 (a measure of venous oxygen saturation) were collected from the medial gastrocnemius (MG) during the final 10 seconds of each stage. Blood pressure was also collected during the final minute of each stage. As expected, the pressor response to presymptomatic work (4 kg) was exaggerated in PAD patients compared to controls (+14 mmHg ± 4 and +7 mmHg ± 2, P ≤ 0.034). When normalized to changes in free water content (S0), T2* was lower at 2 kg in PAD patients compared to controls (−0.91 Δms/ΔAU ± 0.3 and 0.57 Δms/ΔAU ± 0.3, P ≤ 0.008); followed by a greater increase in perfusion at 4 kg in the PAD group (+18.8 mL/min/100g ± 6.2 vs. −0.21 mL/min/100g ± 3.2 in PAD and controls, P ≤ 0.026). Lastly, SvO2 decreased at 4 kg in both groups (−13% ± 4 and −2% ± 4 in PAD and controls, P ≤ 0.049), suggesting an increase in O2 extraction in the PAD group. Based on these findings, O2 transport appears to be augmented during graded presymptomatic work in PAD patients, and this may be partially mediated by an exaggerated pressor response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere14243
JournalPhysiological reports
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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