Populations of group III and IV muscle afferent fibres located in the adventitia of the small vessels appear to respond to the level of venular distension and to recruitment of the vascular bed within the skeletal muscles. The CNS could thus be informed on the level of muscle hyperaemia when the metabolic rate varies. As a result, the magnitude and kinetics of the change in peripheral gas exchange - which translates into pulmonary gas exchange - can be sensed. We present the view that the respiratory control system uses these sources of information of vascular origin, among the numerous inputs produced by exercise, as a marker of the metabolic strain imposed on the circulatory and the ventilatory systems, resulting in an apparent matching between pulmonary gas exchange and alveolar ventilation.
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