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Acta Physiol Scand. 1984 Apr;120(4):499-504.

Skeletal muscle sympathetic activity at rest in trained and untrained subjects.


The effect of physical training on muscle sympathetic activity (MSA) was studied by comparing resting levels of MSA in 8 well-trained racing cyclists and in 8 age-matched untrained subjects (mean age 22 yrs). In addition, MSA was determined for 5 untrained subjects before and after an 8-week training program on cycle ergometers (training group). Recordings were made from the peroneal nerve at the knee with the subject in recumbent position. The well-trained cyclists were characterized by a clearly higher maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max) and lower heart rate at submaximal exercise (180 W) than their untrained counterparts. These variables were also significantly changed with training in the training group. In contrast, there were no training-related effects on MSA. Thus, MSA expressed as either the number of sympathetic bursts/100 heart beats (+2%, NS) or bursts/min (-10%, NS) did not differ between the well-trained cyclists and the untrained controls. Furthermore, no changes in MSA occurred with training in the training group (bursts/100 heart beats: +8%, NS; bursts/min -2%, NS). Individual variations in MSA were large and independent of training state. It is concluded that differences in physical conditioning do not account for the large inter-individual differences in MSA in resting man.

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