1. We have an incomplete understanding of integrative cardiopulmonary control during exercise and particularly during the postexercise period, when symptoms and signs of myocardial ischaemia and exercise-induced asthma not present during exercise may appear. 2. The hypothesis is advanced that baroreflex de-resetting during exercise recovery is normally associated with (i) a dominant sympathetic vasoconstrictor effect in the coronary circulation, which, when associated with obstructive coronary disease, may initiate a potentially positive-feedback cardio- cardiac sympathetic reflex (variable myocardial ischaemia with symptoms and signs); and (ii) a dominant parasympathetic bronchoconstrictor effect in the presence of bronchovascular dilatation, which, when associated with raised mediator release in the bronchial wall, reinforces the tendency for airway obstruction (variable dyspnoea results). 3. There is a need for new techniques to examine hypotheses concerning autonomic control, during and after exercise, of the coronary and bronchial circulations and the dimensions of airways. Accordingly, a new ultrasonic instrument has been designed named an 'Airways Internal Diameter Assessment (AIDA) Sonomicrometer'. It combines pulsed Doppler flowmetry with transit-time sonomicrometry of airway circumference and single-crystal sonomicrometry of airway wall thickness. Initial evaluation suggests it is relatively easy to apply during thoracotomy in recovery animals. The component devices are linear and will measure target variables with excellent accuracy. 4. In anaesthetized sheep, intubated with controlled ventilation, intravenous isoproterenol causes large increases in bronchial blood flow, a fall in arterial pressure and a reduction in airway circumference. This may reflect the dominant action of reflex vagal activity over direct β-adrenoceptor inhibition of bronchial smooth muscle, the reflex source being baroreflex secondary to the fall in arterial pressure. These findings provide insight into the integrative mechanisms underlying the paradoxical negative effects sometimes observed when β-adrenoceptor agonists are used in asthma.
Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology Vol. 28, Issue 5, p. 472-478