Bone blood flow is influenced by muscle contractions

Forces acting on the skeleton could be divided into those originating from gravitational loading and those originating from muscle loading. Flat bones in a non-weight-baring segment of the skeleton probably experience forces mostly generated by muscle contractions. One purpose of muscle contractions is to generate blood flow within skeletal tissues. The present study aimed to investigate the pulsatile patellar bone blood flow after low and high intensity leg extension exercises. Forty-two healthy individuals volunteered for the study. Dynamic isotonic one leg extension/flexion exercises were performed in a leg extension machine. Randomly, the exercises were performed with the left or right leg with either 10 repetition maximum (10 RM) continuously without any resting periods (high intensity muscle work), or 20 RM with a 2 second rest between contractions (low intensity muscle work). The work load, expressed in kilograms totally lifted, was identical in both legs. The pulsatile patellar blood flow was recorded continuously using a photoplethysmographic technique. Blood pressure was measured continuously during muscle work by a non-invasive method (Finapress). The patellar pulsatile bone blood flow increased significantly more after high intensity muscle work (61%) compared to the same work load performed using a lower intensity (22%), p = 0.000073. Systolic blood pressure changed equally during and after both interventions. Post-exercise bone hyperaemia appears to be correlated to the intensity of muscle contractions in the muscle compartment attached to the bone. Keywords: Bone; Blood Flow; Blood Pressure; Photoplethysmography.

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