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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2017 Nov 1;313(5):H861-H870. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00046.2017. Epub 2017 Jul 14.

A comparison of passive hindlimb cycling and active upper-limb exercise provides new insights into systolic dysfunction after spinal cord injury.

Author information

1
International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
2
Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Institute, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky.
3
MD/PhD Training Program, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
4
Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
5
GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, Vancouver Health Authority, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; and.
6
International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; west@icord.org.
7
School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Abstract

Active upper-limb and passive lower-limb exercise are two interventions used in the spinal cord injury (SCI) population. Although the global cardiac responses have been previously studied, it is unclear how either exercise influences contractile cardiac function. Here, the cardiac contractile and volumetric responses to upper-limb (swim) and passive lower-limb exercise were investigated in rodents with a severe high-thoracic SCI. Animals were divided into control (CON), SCI no exercise (NO-EX), SCI passive hindlimb cycling (PHLC), or SCI swim (SWIM) groups. Severe contusion SCI was administered at the T2 level. PHLC and SWIM interventions began on day 8 postinjury and lasted 25 days. Echocardiography and dobutamine stress echocardiography were performed before and after injury. Cardiac contractile indexes were assessed in vivo at study termination via a left ventricular pressure-volume conductance catheter. Stroke volume was reduced after SCI (91 µl in the NO-EX group vs. 188 µl in the CON group, P < 0.05) and was reversed at study termination in the PHLC (167 µl) but not SWIM (90 µl) group. Rates of contraction were reduced in NO-EX versus CON groups (6,079 vs. 9,225 mmHg, respectively, P < 0.05) and were unchanged by PHLC and SWIM training. Similarly, end-systolic elastance was reduced in the NO-EX versus CON groups (0.67 vs. 1.37 mmHg/µl, respectively, P < 0.05) and was unchanged by PHLC or SWIM training. Dobutamine infusion normalized all pressure indexes in each SCI group (all P < 0.05). In conclusion, PHLC improves flow-derived cardiac indexes, whereas SWIM training displayed no cardiobeneficial effect. Pressure-derived deficits were corrected only with dobutamine, suggesting that reduced β-adrenergic stimulation is principally responsible for the impaired cardiac contractile function after SCI.NEW & NOTEWORTHY This is the first direct comparison between the cardiac changes elicited by active upper-limb or passive lower-limb exercise after spinal cord injury. Here, we demonstrate that lower-limb exercise positively influences flow-derived cardiac indexes, whereas upper-limb exercise does not. Furthermore, neither intervention corrects the cardiac contractile dysfunction associated with spinal cord injury.

KEYWORDS:

cardiac function; exercise; pressure-volume; spinal cord injury

PMID:
28710067
DOI:
10.1152/ajpheart.00046.2017
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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