Changes in Cortical Oxyhaemoglobin Signal During Low-Intensity Cycle Ergometer Activity: A Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Study

  • Atsuhiro TsubakiEmail author
  • Haruna Takai
  • Sho Kojima
  • Shota Miyaguchi
  • Kazuhiro Sugawara
  • Daisuke Sato
  • Hiroyuki Tamaki
  • Hideaki Onishi
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 876)


Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is a widely used non-invasive method for measuring human brain activation based on the cerebral hemodynamic response during gross motor tasks. However, systemic changes can influence measured NIRS signals. We aimed to determine and compare time-dependent changes in NIRS signal, skin blood flow (SBF), and mean arterial pressure (MAP) during low-intensity, constant, dynamic exercise. Nine healthy volunteers (22.1 ± 1.7 years, 3 women) participated in this study. After a 4-min pre-exercise rest and a 4-min warm-up, they exercised on a bicycle ergometer at workloads corresponding to 30 % VO2 peak for 20 min. An 8-min rest period followed the exercise. Cortical oxyhaemoglobin signals (O2Hb) were recorded while subjects performed the exercise, using an NIRS system. Changes in SBF and MAP were also measured during exercise. O2Hb increased to 0.019 mM cm over 6 min of exercise, decreased slightly from 13 min towards the end of the exercise. SBF continued to increase over 16 min of the exercise period and thereafter decreased till the end of measurement. MAP fluctuated from −1.0 to 7.1 mmHg during the exercise. Pearson’s correlation coefficients between SBF and O2Hb, and MAP and O2Hb differed in each time phase, from −0.365 to 0.713. During low-intensity, constant, dynamic exercise, the profile of changes in measurements of O2Hb, SBF, and MAP differed. These results suggested that it is necessary to confirm the relationship between O2Hb and systemic factors during motor tasks in order to detect cortical activation during gross motor tasks.


Cortical oxyhaemoglobin Skin blood flow Mean arterial pressure Low-intensity exercise Near-infrared spectroscopy 



This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and a Grant-in-Aid for Exploratory Research from the Niigata University of Health and Welfare.


  1. 1.
    Mehta JP, Verber MD, Wieser JA et al (2009) A novel technique for examining human brain activity associated with pedaling using fMRI. J Neurosci Methods 179:230–239CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Christensen LO, Johannsen P, Sinkjaer T et al (2000) Cerebral activation during bicycle movements in man. Exp Brain Res 135:66–72CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hiura M, Nariai T, Ishii K et al (2014) Changes in cerebral blood flow during steady-state cycling exercise: a study using oxygen-15-labeled water with PET. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 34:389–396CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Minati L, Kress IU, Visani E et al (2011) Intra- and extra-cranial effects of transient blood pressure changes on brain near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) measurements. J Neurosci Methods 197:283–288CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Tsubaki A, Kojima S, Furusawa AA et al (2013) Effect of valsalva maneuver-induced hemodynamic changes on brain near-infrared spectroscopy measurements. Adv Exp Med Biol 789:97–103CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Takahashi T, Takikawa Y, Kawagoe R et al (2011) Influence of skin blood flow on near-infrared spectroscopy signals measured on the forehead during a verbal fluency task. Neuroimage 57:991–1002CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kirilina E, Jelzow A, Heine A et al (2012) The physiological origin of task-evoked systemic artefacts in functional near infrared spectroscopy. Neuroimage 61:70–81CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rupp T, Perrey S (2008) Prefrontal cortex oxygenation and neuromuscular responses to exhaustive exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 102:153–163PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hoshi Y, Kobayashi N, Tamura M (2001) Interpretation of near-infrared spectroscopy signals: a study with a newly developed perfused rat brain model. J Appl Physiol 90:1657–1662PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Miyai I, Suzuki M, Hatakenaka M et al (2006) Effect of body weight support on cortical activation during gait in patients with stroke. Exp Brain Res 169:85–91CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Niederhauser BD, Rosenbaum BP, Gore JC et al (2008) A functional near-infrared spectroscopy study to detect activation of somatosensory cortex by peripheral nerve stimulation. Neurocrit Care 9:31–36CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kawaguchi H, Koyama T, Okada E (2007) Effect of probe arrangement on reproducibility of images by near-infrared topography evaluated by a virtual head phantom. Appl Opt 46:1658–1668CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Ishikawa A, Udagawa H, Masuda Y et al (2011) Development of double density whole brain fNIRS with EEG system for brain machine interface. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2011:6118–6122PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Obrig H, Wolf T, Doge C et al (1996) Cerebral oxygenation changes during motor and somatosensory stimulation in humans, as measured by near-infrared spectroscopy. Adv Exp Med Biol 388:219–224CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Miyai I, Tanabe HC, Sase I et al (2001) Cortical mapping of gait in humans: a near-infrared spectroscopic topography study. Neuroimage 14:1186–1192CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Shibuya K, Kuboyama N, Tanaka J (2014) Changes in ipsilateral motor cortex activity during a unilateral isometric finger task are dependent on the muscle contraction force. Physiol Meas 35:417–428CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Shibuya K (2011) The activity of the primary motor cortex ipsilateral to the exercising hand decreases during repetitive handgrip exercise. Physiol Meas 32:1929–1939CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hirasawa A, Yanagisawa S, Tanaka N et al (2015) Influence of skin blood flow and source-detector distance on near-infrared spectroscopy-determined cerebral oxygenation in humans. Clin Physiol Funct Imaging 35:237–244CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Atsuhiro Tsubaki
    • 1
    Email author
  • Haruna Takai
    • 1
  • Sho Kojima
    • 1
  • Shota Miyaguchi
    • 1
  • Kazuhiro Sugawara
    • 1
  • Daisuke Sato
    • 1
  • Hiroyuki Tamaki
    • 1
  • Hideaki Onishi
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Human Movement and Medical Sciences, Niigata University of Health and WelfareNiigata-shiJapan

Personalised recommendations