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Effects of static and rhythmic twitch contractions on the discharge of group III and IV muscle afferents

MARC P KAUFMAN, TONY G WALDROP, KENNETH J RYBICKI, GEORGE A ORDWAY, JERE H MITCHELL
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cvr/18.11.663 663-668 First published online: 1 November 1984

SUMMARY

Although both static and rhythmic twitch contractions of the hindlimb muscles of anaesthetised cats have been shown to reflexly evoke pressor responses, the increase in arterial pressure evoked by the former type of contraction has been shown to be substantially larger than that evoked by the latter. We have therefore recorded the impulse activity of single group III and IV muscle afferents, whose activation reflexly increases arterial pressure, while we both statically and rhythmically twitch-contracted the triceps surae muscles of anaesthetised cats. We found that group III afferents (n=17) discharged significantly more impulses in response to static contraction than in response to rhythmic contraction. By contrast, group IV afferents (n=18) fired approximately the same number of impulses in response to the two types of contraction. In addition, we found that many of the group III but only a few of the group IV afferents displayed discharge properties suggestive that these afferents were mechanoreceptors. We conclude that the discharge of group III afferents are likely to be responsible for the difference in the magnitudes of the reflex pressor responses evoked by static and rhythmic contraction.

Key words
  • thin-fibre muscle afferents
  • somato-sympathetic reflexes
  • exercise
  • mechanoreceptors
  • cats

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