Corticospinal and peripheral responses to heat-induced hypo-hydration: potential physiological mechanisms and implications for neuromuscular function

Nasir Uddin, Jamie Tallent, Stephen D. Patterson, Stuart Goodall, Mark Waldron*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Heat-induced hypo-hydration (hyperosmotic hypovolemia) can reduce prolonged skeletal muscle performance; however, the mechanisms are less well understood and the reported effects on all aspects of neuromuscular function and brief maximal contractions are inconsistent. Historically, a 4–6% reduction of body mass has not been considered to impair muscle function in humans, as determined by muscle torque, membrane excitability and peak power production. With the development of magnetic resonance imaging and neurophysiological techniques, such as electromyography, peripheral nerve, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), the integrity of the brain-to-muscle pathway can be further investigated. The findings of this review demonstrate that heat-induced hypo-hydration impairs neuromuscular function, particularly during repeated and sustained contractions. Additionally, the mechanisms are separate to those of hyperthermia-induced fatigue and are likely a result of modulations to corticospinal inhibition, increased fibre conduction velocity, pain perception and impaired contractile function. This review also sheds light on the view that hypo-hydration has ‘no effect’ on neuromuscular function during brief maximal voluntary contractions. It is hypothesised that irrespective of unchanged force, compensatory reductions in cortical inhibition are likely to occur, in the attempt of achieving adequate force production. Studies using single-pulse TMS have shown that hypo-hydration can reduce maximal isometric and eccentric force, despite a reduction in cortical inhibition, but the cause of this is currently unclear. Future work should investigate the intracortical inhibitory and excitatory pathways within the brain, to elucidate the role of the central nervous system in force output, following heat-induced hypo-hydration.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Early online date1 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Apr 2022

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