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Effects Of Blood Pressure On Force Production In Cat And Human Muscle

S. F. Hobbs, D. I. McCloskey

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In anesthetized cats reducing local arterial pressure from 125 to 75 Torr decreased blood flow (53 +/- 5%) and force production (57 +/- 7%) in soleus and medial gastrocnemius. Force was produced in these muscles by aerobic, slowly fatiguing fibers. Similar reductions in arterial pressure did not affect force production in caudofemoralis, which contains mainly fast-fatiguing fibers. In human subjects the electromyogram produced by the ankle extensors during rhythmic constant-force contractions increased as the contracting muscles were raised above the heart during legs-up tilt. This suggests that force production of active muscle fibers at a given level of activation fell with muscle perfusion pressure, thus requiring augmentation of muscle activity to sustain the standard contractions. Because aerobic fibers contributed to these contractions, it appears that force production of human muscle fibers is sensitive to small changes in perfusion pressure and, presumably, blood flow. The critical dependence of developed muscular force on blood pressure is of importance to motor control and may also play a significant role in cardiovascular control during exercise.