Exercise-induced sympathetic dilatation in arterioles of the guinea pig tibial periosteum

Published:December 22, 2018DOI:


      • Unilateral forced exercise of guinea-pig leg muscle develops sympathetic vasodilation in periosteal arterioles of trained but not non-trained legs.
      • The sympathetic vasodilatation in trained leg arterioles is mediated by endothelial but not neuronal nitric oxide.
      • The exercise appears to up-regulate endothelial α2-adrenoreceptor linked with nitric oxide release.
      • The exercise-induced sympathetic vasodilatation would facilitate bone blood supply and may contribute to the exercise-induced bone strength gain.


      Strength training induces not only muscle growth but also increased bone strength, a change that is expected to be associated with increased bone blood flow. However, the effects of exercise on contractile properties of bone microvascultaure have not been investigated. Once-a-week strength training with electrical muscle stimulation was applied unilaterally to tibialis anterior muscle of guinea pigs, while muscle force was measured from both legs to compare their muscle strength and endurance. After 10 weeks of training, changes in the arteriolar diameters of isolated periosteum taken from both trained and non-trained legs were measured using a video tracking system. Electrical field stimulation evoked a phasic constriction followed by a sustained dilatation in periosteal arterioles of trained legs, while triggering only vasoconstriction in the arterioles of non-trained legs. In trained leg arterioles, phentolamine, an α-adrenoceptor antagonist, inhibited both the constriction and dilatation. Prazosin, an α1-adrenoceptor antagonist, inhibited only the constriction, while yohimbine, α2-adrenoceptor antagonist, or l-nitro arginine (L-NA), a nitric oxide (NO) synthase inhibitor, inhibited the dilatation. In non-trained leg arterioles, phentolamine or prazosin largely suppressed the constriction, but failed to unmask any dilatation. Consistently, noradrenaline (NAd)-induced arteriolar constriction was enhanced and prolonged by L-NA in trained but not non-trained side arterioles. Thus, NAd released from sympathetic nerves appears to activate endothelial α2-adrenoceptors to release NO resulting in the sustained dilatation of periosteum arterioles from trained leg. The altered sympathetic vasomotor function would facilitate the blood supply to the bone and may contribute to the exercise-induced bone strength gain.


      EFS (electrical field stimulation), EMS (electrical muscle stimulation), TH (tyrosine hydroxylase), L-NA (l-nitro arginine), NAd (noradrenaline), NO (nitric oxide), NOS (nitric oxide synthase), α-SMA (α-smooth muscle actin)


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