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EFFECTS OF BED REST ON SYMPATHO-ADRENAL  AND HORMONAL RESPONSES TO  VARIOUS PHYSIOLOGICAL STIMULI

Prof. Dr. Hanna Kaciuba-Uscilko, Prof. dr.Krystyna Nazar, Prof. dr.Jerzy Smorawinski

Prolonged bed rest is applied by physicians to confine  patients for health restoration. Besides, physiological responses to horizontal or head-down postures have been studied in healthy subjects as models of  reactions to microgravity environment in astronauts. The recumbent position results in a loss of most hydrostatic pressure, elimination of longitudinal compression on the spine and long bones of lower extremity, reduced muscular force on bones, decreased total energy expenditure. The effects of bed rest on the autonomic nervous system and hormonal regulatory mechanisms  are still the matter of discussion. The data are often controversial, since the studies covered various periods of  bed rest and  were often performed with very limited number of subjects differing in age, gender and physical fitness. The  aims of the present study were: (1) to examine the effects of  three days of bed rest on neuro-hormonal responses to such physiological stimuli as glucose ingestion, graded bicycle exercise, changing of body position  (lying to standing), cold pressure test (hand cooling), and (2) to find out whether the level and kind of physical activity preceding bed rest modifies its effects. Twenty three young  sedentary subjects, 18 endurance trained athletes (runners, cyclists and triathlonists) and 20 strength  trained athletes (body builders and wrestlers) participated in the investigations. The study showed that 3 days of bed rest  (1) increase  plasma insulin response to an oral glucose  load  (70 g),  (2) decrease plasma noradrenaline (NA) level under basal conditions (in supine subjects after overnight fast), (3) diminish the plasma catecholamine responses to an oral glucose  load and to 8 min standing, particularly in endurance athletes, (4) cause an earlier activation of the sympathetic nervous system during graded exercise test only in the endurance trained subjects, (5) does not influence catecholamine response to the hand cooling (2 min), (6) increase  resting plasma renin activity and its response to standing and exercise, (7) decrease resting and exercise plasma growth hormone concentration. It is concluded that remaining recumbent for only three days can modify  neural and endocrine responses to various physiological stimuli, especially in  previously physically active men.

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