Hyperpnoea during and immediately after exercise in man: evidence of motor cortical involvement.
Author(s)Fink, G R
Watson, J D
Innes, J A
Corfield, D R
Frackowiak, R S
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Abstract1. The neurophysiological basis for the increase in breathing associated with exercise remains obscure. The present study uses positron emission tomography (PET) to measure relative regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in order to identify sites of increased neuronal activation during and immediately following exercise. 2. Male volunteers underwent H2(15)O PET scanning during two complementary studies. Firstly, six subjects performed right leg exercise, adequate to increase oxygen uptake 2.5-fold. Secondly, five different subjects were scanned immediately following bicycle exercise (adequate to increase oxygen uptake 5-fold) while breathing was still increased. In each study, as a control, scanning was also performed during matched passive isocapnic positive pressure ventilation; additionally, in the first study, passive right leg movement was performed. 3. Increases in relative rCBF were obtained in each individual and co-registered with their magnetic resonance image of the brain defining individual gyral morphology. 4. During exercise, individual and group analysis revealed significant relative rCBF increases in the left and right superomedial primary motor cortex (the motor cortical 'leg' areas) and also in the left and right superolateral primary motor cortex in areas previously shown to be associated with volitional breathing. After exercise, there was no significant increase in relative rCBF in the superomedial areas but such increases were still present bilaterally in the superolateral areas which had been activated during the exercise. Other relative rCBF increases were also found, both during and after exercise, in cortical and subcortical areas known to be involved in motor control. 5. The results from PET scans during and after exercise, taken together, provide evidence for motor cortical involvement in the exercise-related hyperpnoea in man.