Evidence for centrally induced cholinergic vasodilatation in skeletal muscle during voluntary one-legged cycling and motor imagery in humans
Electrical stimulation of the "Defence Area" of the hypothalamus in anaesthetized cats was accomplished by stereotaxic placement of bipolar stainless steel electrodes; the spinal cord was sectioned at L4. The muscle blood flow in one hind limb was recorded with an electromagnetic flowmeter. Increases of between 100% and 300% were observed during hypothalamic stimulation. Electroneurographic recordings from small nerve filaments supplying tibialis anterior muscle revealed two populations of neurones whose activity was abolished by lumbar sympathectomy. It appears that the increased blood flow in skeletal muscle during stimulation of the hypothalamic "Defence Area" is brought about by a simultaneous inhibition of vasoconstrictor activity and increase in cholinergic vasodilator discharge.