The effects of whole body heat stress on sympathetic and cardiovascular responses to stimulation of muscle metaboreceptors and mechanoreceptors remains unclear. We examined the muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA), blood pressure, and heart rate in 14 young healthy subjects during fatiguing isometric handgrip exercise, postexercise circulatory occlusion (PECO), and passive muscle stretch during PECO. The protocol was performed under normothermic and whole body heat stress (increase internal temperature ~0.6°C via a heating suit) conditions. Heat stress increased the resting MSNA and heart rate. Heat stress did not alter the mean blood pressure (MAP), heart rate, and MSNA responses (i.e., changes) to fatiguing exercise. During PECO, whole body heat stress accentuated the heart rate response [change (Δ) of 5.8 ± 1.5 to Δ10.0 ± 2.1 beats/min, P = 0.03], did not alter the MSNA response (Δ16.4 ± 2.8 to Δ17.3 ± 3.8 bursts/min, P = 0.74), and lowered the MAP response (Δ20 ± 2 to Δ12 ± 1 mmHg, P < 0.001). Under normothermic conditions, passive stretch during PECO evoked significant increases in MAP and MSNA (both P < 0.001). Of note, heat stress prevented the MAP and MSNA responses to stretch during PECO (both P > 0.05). These data suggest that whole body heat stress attenuates the pressor response due to metaboreceptor stimulation, and the sympathetic nerve response due to mechanoreceptor stimulation.
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