Roles of absolute and relative load in skin vasoconstrictor responses to exercise

W. F. Taylor, J. M. Johnson, W. A. Kosiba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Systemic hemodynamic responses to exercise (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure) depend on the relative intensity, the active muscle mass, and the mode of exercise. It is not known whether regional vasomotor responses follow the same pattern. To answer this question, in five men we examined cutaneous vascular responses to dynamic and isometric exercise of two legs, one leg, one arm, and one hand, each at high and low work loads. Skin blood flow was monitored by laser-Doppler flowmetry (LDF) at the forearm. Mean arterial pressure (MAP) was measured each minute. Cutaneous vascular conductance (CVC) was indexed as LDF/MAP. Reductions in CVC during the 1st min of dynamic exercise were statistically significant for two-leg exercise at either level and for one-leg exercise at the higher level. Dynamic exercise of smaller muscle groups at either intensity was not associated with significant changes in CVC. The reduction in CVC correlated with external work load (r = 0.75). Work load relative to the capacity of a given muscle group had no identifiable role in the response of CVC to dynamic exercise but did have a role in the increase in MAP at the beginning of exercise. Isometric exercise did not have a measurable effect on CVC regardless of the muscle group or the intensity of the exercise. We conclude that the level of external work determines the redistribution of blood flow from skin to active muscle. Furthermore, absolute rather than relative work and dynamic rather than isometric modes of exercise are the dominant factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1131-1136
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • active muscle mass
  • dynamic exercise
  • exercise
  • isometric exercise
  • laser-Doppler blood flow
  • peripheral circulation
  • reflex control
  • regional blood flow
  • skin blood flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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