Changes in interstitial noradrenaline, trapezius muscle activity and oxygen saturation during low-load work and recovery

  • Gerd M. FlodgrenEmail author
  • A. G. Crenshaw
  • M. Gref
  • M. Fahlström
Original Article


Both physical as well as mental demands result in an increased activity in the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) with changes in blood-pressure and heart-rate. Through local release of catecholamines, e.g. noradrenaline (NAd) SNS exerts various actions at the muscle level. The aims of this study were to investigate the effects of low-load repetitive work alone and in combination with mental demands on local muscle interstitial noradrenaline concentration [NAd]i, muscle activity and oxygenation, assessed with microdialysis, surface electromyography, and near-infrared spectroscopy, respectively. Healthy females (n = 15) were exposed to (1) 30 min repetitive work (RW) and (2) 30 min repetitive work with superimposed mental load (RWML) on two different occasions. Muscle [NAd]i and muscle activity increased significantly in response to RW, but did not increase further during RWML. For RW, [NAd]i was found to be inversely correlated to muscle activity. Oxygenation decreased significantly during work, independently of occasion. Our findings indicate that low-load work causes significantly increased trapezius muscle [NAd]i in healthy females, and short periods of superimposed mental load do not add to this increase and further, that both muscle activity and oxygenation were unaffected by the superimposed mental load.


Microdialysis Near-infrared spectroscopy Electromyography Mental load Subjective ratings Healthy females 



Special thanks are due to Margaretha Marklund, Per Gandal and Göran Sandström for qualified technical assistance, Ivana Kalecic for help with improving the HPLC-analysis, Fredrik Hellström for reading and commenting the manuscript and lastly to Kjell Karp for providing laboratory resources. The financial support of the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems, VINNOVA (project no. 510240) is also gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerd M. Flodgren
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
    Email author
  • A. G. Crenshaw
    • 1
  • M. Gref
    • 3
  • M. Fahlström
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Centre for Musculoskeletal ResearchUniversity of GävleUmeåSweden
  2. 2.Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Sports Medicine UnitUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  3. 3.Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Clinical Physiology UnitUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  4. 4.Institute of Health and SocietyNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  5. 5.Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation MedicineUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden

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