Leg blood flow is impaired during small muscle mass exercise in patients with COPD

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Ulrik Winning Iepsen, Gregers Druedal Wibe Munch, Mette Rugbjerg, Camilla Koch Ryrsø, Niels H. Secher, Ylva Hellsten, Peter Lange, Bente Klarlund Pedersen, Pia Thaning, Stefan P Mortensen

Skeletal muscle blood flow is regulated to match the oxygen demand and dysregulation could contribute to exercise intolerance in patients with COPD. We measured leg hemodynamics and metabolites from vasoactive compounds in muscle interstitial fluid and plasma at rest, during one-legged knee-extensor exercise, and during arterial infusions of sodium nitroprusside (SNP) and acetylcholine (ACh), respectively. Ten patients with moderate to severe COPD and eight age- and sex matched healthy controls were studied. During knee-extensor exercise (10 W), leg blood flow was lower in the patients compared with the controls (1.82±0.11 versus 2.36±0.14 L/min, respectively, P<0.05) which compromised leg oxygen delivery (372±26 versus 453±32 mLO2/min, respectively, P<0.05). At rest, plasma endothelin-1 (vasoconstrictor) was higher in the COPD patients (P<0.05) and also tended to be higher during exercise (p=0.07), while the formation of interstitial prostacyclin (vasodilator) was only increased in the controls. There was no difference between groups in the nitrite/nitrate levels (vasodilator) in plasma or interstitial fluid during exercise. Moreover, patients and controls showed similar vasodilatory capacity in response to both endothelium-independent (SNP) and endothelium-dependent (ACh) stimulation. The results suggests that leg muscle blood flow is impaired during small muscle mass exercise in patients with COPD possibly due to impaired formation of prostacyclin and increased levels of endothelin-1.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Volume123
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)624-631
Number of pages8
ISSN8750-7587
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • Hemodynamics, Extracellular fluid, Vasodilator agents

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