Central and peripheral responses to static and dynamic stretch of skeletal muscle: mechano- and metaboreflex implications

Massimo Venturelli, Emiliano Cè, Eloisa Limonta, Angela Valentina Bisconti, Michela Devoto, Susanna Rampichini, Fabio Esposito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Passive static stretching (SS), circulatory cuff occlusion (CCO), and the combination of both (SS + CCO) have been used to investigate the mechano- and metaboreflex, respectively. However, the effects of dynamic stretching (DS) alone or in combination with CCO (DS + CCO) on the same reflexes have never been explored. The aim of the study was to compare central and peripheral hemodynamic responses to DS, SS, DS + CCO, and SS + CCO. In 10 participants, femoral blood flow (FBF), heart rate (HR), cardiac output (CO), and mean arterial pressure (MAP) were assessed during DS and SS of the quadriceps muscle with and without CCO. Blood lactate concentration [La(-)] in the lower limb undergoing CCO was also measured. FBF increased significantly in DS and SS by 365 ± 98 and 377 ± 102 ml/min, respectively. Compared with baseline, hyperemia was negligible during DS + CCO and SS + CCO (+11 ± 98 and +5 ± 87 ml/min, respectively). DS generated a significant, sustained increase in HR and CO (∼40s), while SS induced a blunted and delayed cardioacceleration (∼20 s). After CCO, [La(-)] in the lower limb increased by 135%. Changes in HR and CO during DS + CCO and SS + CCO were similar to DS and SS alone. MAP decreased significantly by ∼5% during DS and SS, did not change in DS + CCO, and increased by 4% in SS + CCO. The present data indicate a reduced mechanoreflex response to SS compared with DS (i.e., different HR and CO changes). SS evoked a hyperemia similar to DS. The similar central hemodynamics recorded during stretching and [La(-)] accumulation suggest a marginal interaction between mechano- and metaboreflex.

NEW & NOTEWORTHY: Different modalities of passive stretching administration (dynamic or static) in combination with circulatory cuff occlusion may reduce or amplify the mechano- and metaboreflex. We showed a reduced mechanoreflex response to static compared with dynamic stretching. The lack of increase in central hemodynamics during the combined mechano- and metaboreflex stimulation implicates marginal interactions between these two pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-120
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
Early online dateNov 17 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Journal Article


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