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Temperature and blood flow coupling during thigh heating interventions

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posted on 2024-01-25, 15:04 authored by Jose Gonzalez-AlonsoJose Gonzalez-Alonso, Nuno Koch EstevesNuno Koch Esteves

A positive relationship between local tissue temperature and perfusion exists, with isolated limb-segment hyperthermia stimulating hyperaemia in the heated region without affecting the adjacent, non-heated limb segment. However, whether partial-limb segment heating evokes a heightened tissue perfusion in the heated region without directly or reflexly affecting the non-heated tissues of the same limb segment remains unknown. This study investigated, in eleven healthy young adults, the lower limb temperature and haemodynamic responses to three levels of 1 h upper-leg heating, none of which alter core temperature: (1) whole-thigh (WTH; water-perfused garment), (2) quadriceps (QH; water-perfused garment), and (3) partial-quadriceps (PQH; pulsed shortwave diathermy) heating. It was hypothesised that perfusion will only increase in the heated regions. WTH, QH and PQH increased local heated tissue temperature by 2.9 ± 0.6, 2.0 ± 0.7 and 2.9 ± 1.3 ºC (p < 0.0001), respectively, whilst remaining unchanged in the non-heated hamstrings and quadriceps tissues during QH and PQH. WTH induced a 2-fold increase in common femoral artery blood flow (p < 0.0001) whereas QH and PQH evoked a similar ~1.4-fold elevation (p ≤ 0.0018). During QH and PQH, however, tissue oxygen saturation and laser-Doppler skin blood flow in the adjacent non-heated hamstrings or quadriceps tissues remained stable (p > 0.5000). These findings in healthy young humans demonstrate a tight thermo-haemodynamic coupling during regional thigh heating, providing further evidence of the importance of local heat-activated mechanisms on the control of blood circulation.

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