Hormonal, metabolic, and cardiovascular responses to static exercise in humans: Influence of epidural anesthesia

M. Kjaer, N. H. Secher, F. W. Bach, H. Galbo, D. R. Reeves, J. H. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


To determine the role of reflex neural mechanisms for hormonal, metabolic, heart rate (HR), and blood pressure (MABP) changes during static exercise, seven healthy young males performed 10-min periods of two-legged static knee extension both during control and during epidural anesthesia. Comparisons were made at identical absolute (29 Nm) and relative [15% maximal voluntary contraction (MVC)] force. Afferent nerve blockade was verified by hypesthesia below T10-T12 and attenuated postexercise ischemic pressor response. Leg strength was reduced to 67 ± 5% of control. At same relative force, increases in MABP and HR occurred more rapidly without than with epidural anesthesia (P < 0.05). This difference was diminished during identical absolute force. Changes in plasma concentrations of catecholamines followed the pattern of HR and MABP responses, with differences between epidural and control experiments being most pronounced early in the work period. Plasma β-endorphin was elevated only after control exercise. No response at 15% MVC was found for growth hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, insulin, glucagon, cortisol, glycerol, free fatty acids, or glucose (P > 0.05). In conclusion, during static exercise with large muscle groups and moderate relative force, modest changes in plasma hormones and metabolites take place. Furthermore, afferent nervous feedback from contracting muscles is important in regulation of blood pressure, heart rate, and catecholamine responses during static exercise in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E214-E220
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2 24-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991


  • Arterial blood pressure
  • Catecholamines
  • Epinephrine
  • Glucagon
  • Growth hormone
  • Heart rate
  • Insulin
  • Metabolic regulation
  • Norepinephrine
  • β-endorphin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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