We examined a hypothesis that static exercise and activation of sympathetic activation by metabolically sensitive skeletal muscle afferents (metaboreflex) influence the sympathetic nervous activity modulating pupil diameter. Nine subjects performed 2 min isometric handgrip exercise at 30% maximal voluntary contraction, which was followed by either 2 min of postexercise muscle ischemia (PEMI) in the forearm or no PEMI (control trial). The pupil diameter and mean blood pressure (MAP) increased significantly from rest during exercise in PEMI and control trials (5 ± 1 and 7 ± 1% in diameter; 13 ± 2 and 12 ± 2 mmHg in MAP, respectively). These increases in the diameter and MAP were maintained during PEMI (7 ± 2% and 9 ± 2 mmHg) but not during the recovery period in the control trial (3 ± 2% and 1 ± 2 mmHg). These results demonstrate that static handgrip exercise increases the pupil diameter, and this increase is partly due to the activation of metaboreflex in humans.
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