We sought to determine whether oral contraception alters the gender‐related differences observed in the exercise pressor reflex during isometric handgrip exercise. Fifteen men, fifteen normally menstruating women (WomenNM), and fifteen women taking monophasic oral contraceptives (WomenOC) completed two trials of a 3‐min isometric handgrip exercise protocol performed at 30% of their maximal voluntary contraction: (1) where arterial occlusion was applied to the previously exercising arm during a 3‐min recovery period (Occlusion trial); (2) where no arterial occlusion was applied during recovery (Control trial). Handgrip exercise elicited greater increases in mean arterial pressure (MAP) in MEN compared to both female groups (P < 0.05), and in WomenOC compared to WomenNM in both trials (P = 0.01, P = 0.03). After 3 min of recovery, sBP was 12% (P = 0.01) and 9% (P = 0.02) higher in the Occlusion trial when compared to the Control trial for MEN and WomenOC. Conversely, arterial occlusion in recovery from handgrip did not sustain elevated sBP in the Occlusion trial, and sBP returned to recovery levels not different to the Control trial, in WomenNM (P = 0.41). These data indicate that gender‐related differences in the metaboreflex during isometric handgrip exercise exist between men and normally menstruating women, but are blunted when men are compared to women taking oral contraceptives. We conclude that the suppression of 17β‐estradiol and/or progestogen in women via the administration of oral contraceptives attenuates sex‐related differences in the metaboreflex during isometric handgrip exercise.
Physiological Reports – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ;
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