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J Physiol. 2018 Sep;596(17):4017-4032. doi: 10.1113/JP275794. Epub 2018 Jun 12.

Sex differences in diaphragmatic fatigue: the cardiovascular response to inspiratory resistance.

Author information

1
School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
2
Department of Physical Therapy, Federal University of Sao Carlos, Sao Carlos, SP, Brazil.
3
Department of Physical Therapy, Providence Health Care Research Institute, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
4
Centre for Heart Lung Innovation, Providence Health Care Research Institute, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
5
International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Abstract

KEY POINTS:

Diaphragmatic fatigue (DF) elicits a sympathetically mediated metaboreflex resulting in increased heart rate, blood pressure and limb vascular resistance. Women may be more resistant to DF compared to men, and therefore it was hypothesised that women would experience an attenuated inspiratory muscle metaboreflex during inspiratory pressure-threshold loading (PTL) performed to task failure. At the time of PTL task failure, the severity of DF was not different between sexes; however, inspiratory muscle endurance time was significantly longer in women than in men. For a given cumulative diaphragmatic force output, the severity of DF was less in women than in men. Women exhibited a blunted cardiovascular response to inspiratory resistance (i.e. metaboreflex) that may have implications for exercise tolerance.

ABSTRACT:

Diaphragmatic fatigue (DF) elicits reflexive increases in sympathetic vasomotor outflow (i.e. metaboreflex). There is some evidence suggesting women may be more resistant to DF compared to men, and therefore may experience an attenuated inspiratory muscle metaboreflex. To this end, we sought to examine the cardiovascular response to inspiratory resistance in healthy young men (n = 9, age = 24 ± 3 years) and women (n = 9, age = 24 ± 3 years). Subjects performed isocapnic inspiratory pressure-threshold loading (PTL, 60% maximal inspiratory mouth pressure) to task failure. Diaphragmatic fatigue was assessed by measuring transdiaphragmatic twitch pressure (Pdi,tw ) using cervical magnetic stimulation. Heart rate (HR) and mean arterial pressure (MAP) were measured beat-by-beat throughout PTL via photoplethysmography, and low-frequency systolic pressure (LFSBP ; a surrogate for sympathetic vasomotor tone) calculated from arterial waveforms using power spectrum analysis. At PTL task failure, the degree of DF was similar between sexes (∼23% reduction in Pdi,tw ; P = 0.33). However, time to task failure was significantly longer in women than in men (27 ± 11 vs. 16 ± 11 min, respectively; P = 0.02). Women exhibited less of an increase in HR (13 ± 8 vs. 19 ± 12 bpm; P = 0.02) and MAP (10 ± 8 vs. 14 ± 9 mmHg; P = 0.01), and significantly lower LFSBP (23 ± 11 vs. 34 ± 8 mmHg2 ; P = 0.04) during PTL compared to men. An attenuation of the inspiratory muscle metaboreflex may influence limb and respiratory muscle haemodynamics with implications for exercise performance.

KEYWORDS:

cervical magnetic stimulation; diaphragm; inspiratory muscle fatigue; metaboreflex; phrenic nerve; sex-differences

PMID:
29756638
PMCID:
PMC6117572
[Available on 2019-09-01]
DOI:
10.1113/JP275794

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