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Acta Physiol Scand. 1977 Jan;99(1):19-26.

Local reflex in microcirculation in human skeletal muscle.


The effect of venous stasis of 40 mmHg upon blood flow in human skeletal muscle was studied in four normal subjects and in two chronically sympathectomized patients. Blood flow in skeletal muscle was measured by the local 133Xenon washout technique. Blood flow decreased about 30 per cent during venous stasis of 40 mmHg. In a "passive vascular bed" induced by means of histamine, blood flow decreased only by 16 per cent, indicating that the decrease in blood flow is due to a vasoconstrictor response to increase in vascular transmural pressure. The vasoconstrictor response was unaffected by a spinal sympathetic blockade, but was blocked in areas infiltrated with lidocaine or with phentolamine. The vasoconstrictor response was present in the nonoperated limbs used as a control, but abolished in the denervated arms in the two chronically sympathectomized patients. The findings strongly suggest that the vasoconstrictor response in skeletal muscle is due to a local nervous mechanism involving adrenergic fibres. Thus a local reflex mechanism, most likely a sympathetic axon reflex, seems to be present in human skeletal muscle as in cutaneous and subcutaneous tissue. This indicates that about 45 per cent of the change in total vascular conductance, when a person changes from supine to upright position, is due to this local reflex mechanism operating independently of the central nervous system.

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