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Am J Physiol. 1985 Nov;249(5 Pt 2):R617-23.

Vascular basis for regulation of nasal heat exchange in reindeer.


A hypothesis for the operation and control of nasal heat exchange in reindeer is presented that originated from studies of the nasal vascular anatomy and has been supported by physiological measurements as well as test experiments on a physical prototype model of the reindeer nose. A central theme of our hypothesis is that the nasal mucosa possesses arterial and venous retia that communicate by way of capillaries and arteriovenous anastomoses. During heat conservation the blood runs countercurrent in these retia, whereby a temperature gradient along the nasal mucosa can be maintained. During heat dissipation, however, the retia are perfused unidirectionally in the anterior direction, whereby the temperature gradient along the nasal mucosa is reduced and heat loss facilitated. In this situation cooled venous blood, routed by way of the dorsal nasal vein, may be distributed either to the caval veins directly, for general body cooling, or, by way of the cavernous sinus that encases the carotid rete, for selective cooling of the brain.

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