1. In decerebrated cats the cardiovascular, heart rate and blood pressure responses to static muscle contractions were followed from the onset of stimulation of the cut L7‐S1 ventral roots. Heart rate and blood pressure were also followed during maximal voluntary and electrically induced static muscle contractions in man using one leg. In both cat and man contractions were performed under control conditions and tubocurarine‐induced neuromuscular blockade. 2. In the cat, heart rate and blood pressure increased 1.7 s after the onset of the contraction. No cardiovascular responses were seen when the muscle contraction was blocked by tubocurarine. 3. In man, both heart rate and blood pressure increased at the onset of voluntary contractions. Partial curarization reduced strength to 39% of control. The heart rate response was unaffected by tubocurarine while the blood pressure response was reduced from 61 to 32 mmHg. 4. Electrical stimulation of the muscles resulted in 75% of voluntary strength in man. The heart rate response was delayed one R‐R interval in the electrocardiogram but was as large as during voluntary contractions. During partial curarization the heart rate response was significantly smaller and the blood pressure response was reduced from 11 to 8 mmHg. 5. In conclusion, processes in active muscles elicit an increase in heart rate and blood pressure which depends on the intensity of the muscle contraction developed. However, the immediate cardiovascular responses at the onset of voluntary muscle contractions cannot be accounted for by reflexes generated in the working muscles alone.
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