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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2017 Aug 1;123(2):310-316. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00966.2016. Epub 2017 May 4.

Ten days of repeated local forearm heating does not affect cutaneous vascular function.

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Department of Human Physiology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon; and.
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine-Bradenton, Bradenton, Florida.
Department of Human Physiology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon; and


The aim of the present study was to determine whether 10 days of repeated local heating could induce peripheral adaptations in the cutaneous vasculature and to investigate potential mechanisms of adaptation. We also assessed maximal forearm blood flow to determine whether repeated local heating affects maximal dilator capacity. Before and after 10 days of heat training consisting of 1-h exposures of the forearm to 42°C water or 32°C water (control) in the contralateral arm (randomized and counterbalanced), we assessed hyperemia to rapid local heating of the skin (n = 14 recreationally active young subjects). In addition, sequential doses of acetylcholine (ACh, 1 and 10 mM) were infused in a subset of subjects (n = 7) via microdialysis to study potential nonthermal microvascular adaptations following 10 days of repeated forearm heat training. Skin blood flow was assessed using laser-Doppler flowmetry, and cutaneous vascular conductance (CVC) was calculated as laser-Doppler red blood cell flux divided by mean arterial pressure. Maximal cutaneous vasodilation was achieved by heating the arm in a water-spray device for 45 min and assessed using venous occlusion plethysmography. Forearm vascular conductance (FVC) was calculated as forearm blood flow divided by mean arterial pressure. Repeated forearm heating did not increase plateau percent maximal CVC (CVCmax) responses to local heating (89 ± 3 vs. 89 ± 2% CVCmax, P = 0.19), 1 mM ACh (43 ± 9 vs. 53 ± 7% CVCmax, P = 0.76), or 10 mM ACh (61 ± 9 vs. 85 ± 7% CVCmax, P = 0.37, by 2-way repeated-measures ANOVA). There was a main effect of time at 10 mM ACh (P = 0.03). Maximal FVC remained unchanged (0.12 ± 0.02 vs. 0.14 ± 0.02 FVC, P = 0.30). No differences were observed in the control arm. Ten days of repeated forearm heating in recreationally active young adults did not improve the microvascular responsiveness to ACh or local heating.NEW & NOTEWORTHY We show for the first time that 10 days of repeated forearm heating is not sufficient to improve cutaneous vascular responsiveness in recreationally active young adults. In addition, this is the first study to investigate cutaneous cholinergic sensitivity and forearm blood flow following repeated local heat exposure. Our data add to the limited studies regarding repeated local heating of the cutaneous vasculature.


laser-Doppler flowmetry; microdialysis; skin blood flow; vasodilation

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