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Am J Physiol. 1996 Apr;270(4 Pt 1):E689-99.

Norepinephrine and serotonin vasoconstriction in rat hindlimb control different vascular flow routes.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia.


The vasoconstrictors, norepinephrine at low dose ( < or = 0.1 microM; LDNE) and serotonin (5-HT), produce opposing metabolic effects in the constant-flow perfused rat hindlimb characterized by increased and decreased oxygen uptake, respectively. In the present study, the effects of each vasoconstrictor are compared in the red blood cell-free buffer-perfused hindlimb on postequilibration endogenous red blood cell efflux, vascular entrapment of fluorescein-labeled dextran (Fx), and vascular corrosion casting by use of 30-micron spheres of methyl methacrylate (MM). A marked transient washout of red blood cells occurred immediately in association with vasoconstriction induced by LDNE that was not apparent when a similar extent of vasoconstriction was induced by 5-HT. Fx perfusions indicated that LDNE recruited a new vascular space that was reaccessed by a second exposure to the vasoconstrictor. 5-HT closed off a previously perfused vascular space that was reaccessed when the vasoconstrictor was removed. Corrosion casting of the arterial tree with MM showed no increase in cast weight, but more vessels filled because of LDNE. Higher doses of NE (2.5 microM) or 5-HT caused a marked decrease in cast weight with fewer vessels filled. The data suggest that LDNE and 5-HT, in association with vasoconstriction at different sites, control different capillary flow routes in the hindlimb that in turn may influence metabolism by increasing or decreasing nutrient access, respectively.

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