European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 119, Issue 1, pp 103–111 | Cite as

Spontaneous cardiac baroreflex sensitivity is enhanced during post-exercise ischemia in men but not in women

  • Milena Samora
  • André L. Teixeira
  • Jeann L. Sabino-Carvalho
  • Lauro C. ViannaEmail author
Original Article



To investigate the effect of isolated muscle metaboreflex activation on spontaneous cardiac baroreflex sensitivity (cBRS), and to characterize the potential sex-related differences in this interaction in young healthy subjects.


40 volunteers (20 men and 20 women, age: 22 ± 0.4 year) were recruited. After 5-min rest period, the subjects performed 90 s of isometric handgrip exercise at 40% of maximal voluntary contraction followed by 3 min of post-exercise ischemia (PEI). Beat-to-beat heart rate and arterial blood pressure were continuously measured by finger photopletysmography. Spontaneous cBRS was assessed using the sequence technique and heart rate variability was measured in time (RMSSD—standard deviation of the RR intervals) and frequency domains (LF—low and HF—high frequency power).


Resting cBRS was similar between men and women. During PEI, cBRS was increased in men (Δ3.0 ± 1.1 ms mmHg− 1, P = 0.03) but was unchanged in women (Δ-0.04 ± 1.0 ms mmHg− 1, P = 0.97). In addition, RMSSD and HF power of heart rate variability increased in women (Δ7.4 ± 2.6 ms, P = 0.02; Δ373.4 ± 197.3 ms2; P = 0.04, respectively) and further increased in men (Δ26.4 ± 7.1 ms, P < 0.01; Δ1874.9 ± 756.2 ms2; P = 0.02, respectively). Arterial blood pressure increased from rest during handgrip exercise and remained elevated during PEI in both groups, however, these responses were attenuated in women.


These findings allow us to suggest a sex-related difference in spontaneous cBRS elicited by isolated muscle metaboreflex activation in healthy humans.


Exercise pressor reflex Autonomic nervous system Heart rate Blood pressure Sex differences 



Analyses of variance


Body mass index


Body surface area


Cardiac baroreflex sensitivity


Cardiac index


Cardiac output


Diastolic blood pressure


High frequency


Heart rate


Heart rate variability


Intraclass correlation coefficient


Isometric handgrip


Low frequency


Mean blood pressure


Maximal voluntary contraction


Neurokinin-1 receptor


Nucleus tractus solitaries


Post-exercise ischemia


Root of the mean of the sum of successive differences


Systolic blood pressure


Stroke volume


Total vascular conductance


Vascular conductance index


Very low frequency



The time and effort expended by all the volunteer subjects is greatly appreciated.

Author contributions

MS and LCV conceived and designed research. MS, ALT, JLSC and LCV performed experiments. MS, ALT and LCV analyzed data. MS, ALT and LCV interpreted results of experiments. MS prepared figures. MS, ALT and LCV drafted manuscript. All authors read and approved final version of manuscript.


This study was supported by grants and scholarships from the Brazilian National Council of Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), the Foundation for Research Support of Federal District (FAPDF), Brazilian Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES) and partially supported by an American Physiological Society Arthur C. Guyton Awards for Excellence in Integrative Physiology (to L.C. Vianna).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

None of the authors declares a conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Milena Samora
    • 1
  • André L. Teixeira
    • 1
  • Jeann L. Sabino-Carvalho
    • 1
  • Lauro C. Vianna
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.NeuroVASQ-Integrative Physiology Laboratory, Faculty of Physical EducationUniversity of Brasília, Darcy Ribeiro CampusBrasíliaBrazil

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