Femoral artery inflow in relation to external and total work rate at different knee extensor contraction rates.
Whether limb blood flow is directly regulated to match the work rate, independent of the rate of contraction, remains elusive. This study therefore investigated the relationship between femoral arterial blood flow (FABF; Doppler ultrasound) and "external" (applied load) as well as "total" [external + "internal" (potential and kinetic energy changes of the moving lower leg)] work rate, during steady-state one-legged, dynamic, knee extensor exercise (1L-KEE) in the sitting position at different contraction rates. Ten subjects performed 1L-KEE at 30, 60, and 90 contractions/min (cpm) 1) at constant resistive loads of 0.2 and 0.5 kg inducing incremental external work rates (study I) and 2) at different relative resistive loads inducing constant external work rates of 9 and 18 W (study II). Moreover, 3) six subjects performed 1L-KEE at 60 and 100 cpm at incremental total work rates of 40, 50, 60, and 70 W (study III). In study I, FABF increased (P < 0.001) with increasing contraction frequency and external work rate, for each resistive load. In study II, FABF increased (P < 0.001) with increasing contraction frequency for each constant external work rate. Of major importance in study III, however, was that FABF, although increasing linearly with the total work rate, was not different (P = not significant) between contraction rates, at the total work rates of 40, 50, 60, and 70 W, respectively. Furthermore, FABF correlated linearly and positively with both the external and total work rate for each contraction frequency. In conclusion, the findings support the concept that leg blood flow during 1L-KEE in a normal knee extensor ergometer is matched directly in relation to the total work rate and metabolic activity, irrespective of the contraction frequency. The rate of contraction seems erroneously to influence the results only when it is related to the external work rate without taking into account the internal work component.
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