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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2003 Sep;285(3):H1247-53. Epub 2003 May 15.

Renal vascular responses to static handgrip: role of muscle mechanoreflex.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA 17033, USA.
  • 2PA St U Coll Med, Hershey


During exercise, the sympathetic nervous system is activated, which causes vasoconstriction. The autonomic mechanisms responsible for this vasoconstriction vary based on the particular tissue being studied. Attempts to examine reflex control of the human renal circulation have been difficult because of technical limitations. In this report, the Doppler technique was used to examine renal flow velocity during four muscle contraction paradigms in conscious humans. Flow velocity was divided by mean arterial blood pressure to yield an index of renal vascular resistance (RVR). Fatiguing static handgrip (40% of maximal voluntary contraction) increased RVR by 76%. During posthandgrip circulatory arrest, RVR remained above baseline (2.1 +/- 0.2 vs. 2.8 +/- 0.2 arbitrary units; P < 0.017) but was only 40% of the end-grip RVR value. Voluntary biceps contraction increased RVR within 10 s of initiation of contraction. This effect was not associated with an increase in blood pressure. Finally, involuntary biceps contraction also raised RVR. We conclude that muscle contraction evokes renal vasoconstriction in conscious humans. The characteristic of this response is consistent with a primary role for mechanically sensitive afferents. This statement is based on the small posthandgrip circulatory arrest response and the vasoconstriction that was observed with involuntary biceps contraction.

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