Determinants of skin sympathetic nerve responses to isometric exercise

Thad E. Wilson, Damian J. Dyckman, Chester A. Ray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Exercise-induced increases in skin sympathetic nerve activity (SSNA) are similar between isometric handgrip (IHG) and leg extension (IKE) performed at 30% of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). However, the precise effect of exercise intensity and level of fatigue on this relationship is unclear. This study tested the following hypotheses: 1) exercise intensity and fatigue level would not affect the magnitude of exercise-induced increase in SSNA between IHG and IKE, and 2) altering IHG muscle mass would also not affect the magnitude of exercise-induced increase in SSNA. In protocol 1, SSNA (peroneal microneurography) was measured during baseline and during the initial and last 30 s of isometric exercise to volitional fatigue in 12 subjects who randomly performed IHG and IKE bouts at 15, 30, and 45% MVC. In protocol 2, SSNA was measured in eight subjects who performed one-arm IHG at 30% MVC with the addition of IHG of the contralateral arm in 10-s intervals for 1 min. Exercise intensity significantly increased SSNA responses during the first 30 s of IHG (34 ± 13, 70 ± 11, and 92 ± 13% change from baseline) and IKE (30 ± 17, 69 ± 12, and 76 ± 13% change from baseline) for 15, 30, and 45% MVC. During the last 30 s of exercise to volitional fatigue, there were no significant differences in SSNA between exercise intensities or limb. SSNA did not significantly change between one-arm and two-arm IHG. Combined, these data indicate that exercise-induced increases in SSNA are intensity dependent in the initial portion of isometric exercise, but these differences are eliminated with the development of fatigue. Moreover, the magnitude of exercise-induced increase in SSNA responses is not dependent on either muscle mass involved or exercising limb.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1043-1048
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • And microneurography
  • Skin blood flow
  • Sweat rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Determinants of skin sympathetic nerve responses to isometric exercise'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this