In vivo mechanisms of cutaneous vasodilation and vasoconstriction in humans during thermoregulatory challenges

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Abstract

This review focuses on the neural and local mechanisms that have been demonstrated to effect cutaneous vasodilation and vasoconstriction in response to heat and cold stress in vivo in humans. First, our present understanding of the mechanisms by which sympathetic cholinergic nerves mediate cutaneous active vasodilation during reflex responses to whole body heating is discussed. These mechanisms include roles for cotransmission as well as nitric oxide (NO). Next, the mechanisms by which sympathetic noradrenergic nerves mediate cutaneous active vasoconstriction during whole body cooling are reviewed, including cotransmission by neuropeptide Y (NPY) acting through NPY Y1 receptors. Subsequently, current concepts for the mechanisms that effect local cutaneous vascular responses to direct skin warming are examined. These mechanisms include the roles of temperature-sensitive afferent neurons as well as NO in causing vasodilation during local heating of skin. This section is followed by a review of the mechanisms that cause local cutaneous vasoconstriction in response to direct cooling of the skin, including the dependence of these responses on intact sensory and sympathetic, noradrenergic innervation as well as roles for nonneural mechanisms. Finally, unresolved issues that warrant further research on mechanisms that control cutaneous vascular responses to heating and cooling are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1709-1718
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Volume100
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2006

Keywords

  • Cold stress
  • Cotransmission
  • Heat stress
  • Skin blood flow
  • Thermoregulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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