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European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 118, Issue 8, pp 1689–1702 | Cite as

An increase in prefrontal oxygenation at the start of voluntary cycling exercise was observed independently of exercise effort and muscle mass

  • Ryota Asahara
  • Kana Endo
  • Nan Liang
  • Kanji Matsukawa
Original Article
  • 102 Downloads

Abstract

Purpose

We have reported using near-infrared spectroscopy that an increase in prefrontal oxygenated-hemoglobin concentration (Oxy-Hb) at the start of cycling exercise has relation to central command, defined as a feedforward signal descending from higher brain centers. The final output of central command evokes the exercise effort-dependent cardiovascular responses. If the prefrontal cortex may output the final signal of central command toward the autonomic nervous system, the prefrontal oxygenation should increase depending on exercise effort. To test the hypothesis, we investigated the effects of exercise intensity and muscle mass on prefrontal oxygenation in 13 subjects.

Methods

The subjects performed one- or two-legged cycling at various relative intensities for 1 min. The prefrontal Oxy-Hb and cardiovascular variables were simultaneously measured during exercise.

Results

The increase in cardiac output and the decrease in total peripheral resistance at the start of one- and two-legged cycling were augmented in proportion to exercise intensity and muscle mass recruitment. The prefrontal Oxy-Hb increased at the start of voluntary cycling, while such increase was not developed during passive cycling. Mental imagery of cycling also increased the prefrontal Oxy-Hb, concomitantly with peripheral muscle vasodilatation. However, the increase in prefrontal Oxy-Hb at the start of voluntary cycling seemed independent of exercise intensity and muscle mass recruitment.

Conclusions

It is likely that the increased prefrontal activity at the start of cycling exercise is not representative of the final output signal of central command itself toward the autonomic nervous system but may trigger neuronal activity in the caudal brain responsible for the generation of central command.

Keywords

Central command Regional cerebral blood flow Exercise effort Near-infrared spectroscopy 

Abbreviations

ANOVA

Analysis of variance

ANS

Autonomic nervous system

AP

Arterial blood pressure

CO

Cardiac output

Deoxy-Hb

Deoxygenated-hemoglobin concentration

ECG

Electrocardiogram

EEG

Electroencephalography

EMG

Electromyogram

HR

Heart rate

MAP

Mean arterial blood pressure

MVE

Maximal voluntary exercise intensity

NIRS

Near-infrared spectroscopy

Oxy-Hb

Oxygenated-hemoglobin concentration

PAG

The midbrain periaqueductal gray area

rCBF

Regional cerebral blood flow

RPE

The rating of perceived exertion

SV

Stroke volume

TPR

Total peripheral resistance

VL

Vastus lateralis

VTA

The midbrain ventral tegmental area

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was funded by Grant-in-Aid (15H03061) for Scientific Research (B) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). R. A. was a Research Fellow supported by JSPS.

Author contributions

RA and KM: conception and design of research; RA, KE, NL, and KM performed experiments; RA analyzed data; RA and KM interpreted results of experiments; RA prepared figures; RA and KM drafted manuscript; RA, KE, NL, and KM edited and revised manuscript; RA, KE, NL, and KM approved the final version of manuscript and had responsibility for all aspects of the work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest with regard to this study.

Ethical approval

All procedures and protocols performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards by the Physiological Society of Japan and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments and were approved by the Institutional Ethical Committee of Hiroshima University (permit no. E-532). Informed written consent was obtained from all participants included in this study.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryota Asahara
    • 1
  • Kana Endo
    • 1
  • Nan Liang
    • 1
  • Kanji Matsukawa
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Integrative Physiology, Graduate School of Biomedical and Health SciencesHiroshima UniversityHiroshimaJapan

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