1. The change in arterial pressure and heart rate resulting from alteration of carotid sinus transmural pressure by a median −34 mmHg and +33 mmHg by means of a variable-pressure neck chamber was tested in seven male volunteer subjects, at rest and during exertion of 35, 45 and 65% of maximum voluntary handgrip.
2. During 60 s of 35 and 45%, and during 30 s of 65%, of maximal voluntary handgrip there was virtually no alteration of the response of blood pressure to alteration in carotid sinus transmural pressure.
3. The bradycardic response to increase in carotid sinus transmural pressure was reduced at various times after the commencement of handgrip at 45 and 65% of maximum voluntary contraction.
4. It is concluded that a reduction in arterial baroreceptor reflex sensitivity does not play an important role in the initiation of the increase in arterial blood pressure and heart rate caused by isometric exercise.
5. The hypothesis is advanced that some of the cardiovascular changes in exercise may result from elevation of the central ‘set point’ for blood pressure.