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Open AccessArticle

The Influence of Thermal Alterations on Prefrontal Cortex Activation and Neuromuscular Function during a Fatiguing Task

1
Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Dr, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
2
Department of Physical Education, Kangwon National University, 1 Gangwondaehak-gil, Hyoja-dong, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do 24341, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7194; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197194
Received: 28 August 2020 / Revised: 25 September 2020 / Accepted: 28 September 2020 / Published: 1 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sports and Health)
The purpose of this study was to examine prefrontal cortex (PFC) activation, neuromuscular function, and perceptual measures in response to a fatiguing task, following thermal alterations of an exercising arm. Nineteen healthy adults completed three experimental sessions. At baseline, participants performed maximum voluntary isometric contractions (MVIC) of the elbow flexors. Next, participants submerged their right arm in a water bath for 15 min. Cold (C), neutral (N), and hot (H) water temperatures were maintained at 8, 33, and 44 °C, respectively. Following water immersion, participants performed an isometric elbow flexion contraction, at 20% of their MVIC, for 5 min. Ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), muscular discomfort, and task demands were assessed. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy was used to measure activation (oxygenation) of the PFC during the fatiguing task. Reductions in MVIC torque at the end of the fatiguing task were greater for the H (25.7 ± 8.4%) and N (22.2 ± 9.6%) conditions, compared to the C condition (17.5 ± 8.9%, p < 0.05). The increase in oxygenation of the PFC was greater for the H (13.3 ± 4.9 μmol/L) and N (12.4 ± 4.4 μmol/L) conditions, compared to the C condition (10.3 ± 3.8 μmol/L, p < 0.001) at the end of the fatiguing task. The increase in RPE, muscular discomfort, and task demands were greater in the H condition compared to the N and C conditions (p < 0.01). These results indicate that precooling an exercising arm attenuates the rise in PFC activation, muscle fatigue, and psychological rating during a fatiguing task. View Full-Text
Keywords: fNIRS; pain; RPE; muscle fatigue; brain; perception fNIRS; pain; RPE; muscle fatigue; brain; perception
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Phillips, K.C.; Verbrigghe, D.; Gabe, A.; Jauquet, B.; Eischer, C.; Yoon, T. The Influence of Thermal Alterations on Prefrontal Cortex Activation and Neuromuscular Function during a Fatiguing Task. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 7194.

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