In this review, we highlight the underlying mechanisms responsible for the sex differences in the exercise pressor reflex (EPR), and, importantly, the impact of sex hormones and menopausal status. The EPR is attenuated in premenopausal women compared with age-matched men. Specifically, activation of the metaboreflex (a component of the EPR) results in attenuated increases in blood pressure and sympathetic vasomotor outflow compared with age-matched men. In addition, premenopausal women exhibit less transduction of sympathetic outflow to the peripheral vasculature than men. In stark contrast, postmenopausal women exhibit an augmented EPR arising from exaggerated metaboreflex-induced autonomic and cardiovascular reflexes. We propose that metaboreflex-induced autonomic and cardiovascular changes associated with menopause majorly contribute to the elevated blood pressure response during dynamic exercise in postmenopausal women. In addition, we discuss the potential mechanisms by which sex hormones in premenopausal women may impact the EPR as well as metaboreflex.
- BLOOD PRESSURE
- SEX DIFFERENCES
- SYMPATHETIC NERVE ACTIVITY
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation