Adrenergic control of the human cutaneous circulation

Gary J. Hodges, John M. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The cutaneous circulation is influenced by a variety of thermoregulatory (skin and internal temperature-driven) and nonthermoregulatory (e.g., baroreflex, exercise-associated reflexes) challenges. The responses to these stimuli are brought about through vasoconstrictor nerves, vasodilator nerves, and changes in the local temperature of the vessels themselves. In this review, we examine how thermoregulatory influences mediate changes in skin blood flow through the sympathetic nervous system. We discuss cutaneous vascular responses to both local and whole-body heating and cooling and the mechanisms underlying these responses, with the overarching conclusion that sympathetic function plays significant roles in reflex vasoconstriction and vasodilatation and in the responses to both local cooling and local heating of the skin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-839
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • Cholinergic
  • Local control
  • Reflex control
  • Skin blood flow
  • Sympathetic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Physiology (medical)


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