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Title: Limb tissue haemodynamic responses and regulation in the heat-stressed human: role of local vs. central thermosensitive mechanisms at rest and during small muscle mass exercise
Authors: Chiesa, Scott Thomas
Advisors: Gonzalez-Alonso, J
Rakobowchuk, M
Keywords: Tissue blood flow;Heat stress;Temperature sensitive mechanisms;Haemodynamics;Excerise
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: Limb haemodynamic responses during heat-stress and the importance of local vs. central temperature-sensitive mechanisms towards their regulation remain poorly understood, both at a whole-limb level and within individual tissues (i.e. skeletal muscle and skin). The aims of this thesis were to 1) investigate the haemodynamic responses at rest to direct thermal challenges both at a local level and during progressive elevations in systemic heat stress, 2) to ascertain the contribution of local vs. systemic mechanisms towards this regulation, and 3) to investigate the same responses during single-legged small-muscle mass exercise to near maximal levels. Results from Chapters 4 and 5 characterised the haemodynamic responses during isolated cooling and heating of the arm and leg, and provided evidence of alterations in both skin and skeletal muscle blood flow controlled solely through local temperature-sensitive mechanisms. While local cooling led to modest decreases in limb blood flow due to decreases in mean blood velocity alone, increases during heating occurred as a result of an increased antegrade flow, a diminished retrograde flow, and a reduction in the potentially pro-atherogenic oscillatory shear index. In Chapter 6, whole-body heating with isolated single leg cooling displayed the continued control of limb blood flow via local thermosensitive mechanisms alone, as cooled leg blood flow remained unchanged despite significant elevations in core temperature, cardiac output, and opposing heated leg blood flow. Furthermore, elevations in heated leg V̇O2 suggested a possible metabolic contribution to the observed skeletal muscle hyperaemic response. During incremental single-legged knee-extensor exercise to near maximal levels, blood flow was determined by a combination of metabolic workload and local tissue temperatures, regardless of whether systemic heat stress was present. Chapter 7 revealed that whilst skin and muscle blood flow in the leg continued to increase in line with local temperatures to levels of severe heat stress, rapid cooling of the leg when hyperthermic resulted in a similar reverse response in muscle tissues only, as skin blood flow remained elevated despite the abolition of high skin and subcutaneous temperatures. In addition, evidence was provided that moderate levels of whole-body heat stress provided little additional benefit to anti-atherogenic shear profiles than that experienced during isolated limb heating alone. Taken together, these findings suggest that local thermosensitive mechanisms dominate limb blood flow control during direct rapid heating in humans both at rest and during small muscle mass exercise, but that underlying central mechanisms may act to maintain flow when local temperatures are reduced in the face of high core temperatures.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University London
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Dept of Life Sciences Theses

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