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J Sports Sci. 1986 Autumn;4(2):123-8.

Sympathoadrenal and parasympathetic responses to exercise.


Exhaustive exercise is associated with a persistent sensation of weakness and sometimes nausea suggesting abdominal vagal activity. We measured plasma indices of sympathoadrenal (adrenaline, noradrenaline, dopamine) and vagal (pancreatic polypeptide) activity before, during and after submaximal and maximal exercise in healthy young subjects. Plasma adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine increased to 8.5 (range 7.4-40.5), 48.0 (32.3-100.5) and 1.8 (1.2-6.6) nmol 1-1 respectively (n = 5), during maximal exercise and decreased towards control values within 15 min of rest. Pancreatic polypeptide (n = 10) increased only during maximal exercise and reached its highest value, 48 (21-145) pmol 1-1, after exertion. The results conform to an increase in sympathetic activity during exercise and a persistent vagal activity after intense exercise which could contribute to the sensation of weakness.

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