Limb venous compliance decreases with advancing age, even in healthy humans. To test the hypothesis that adrenergic mechanisms contribute to age-associated reductions in limb venous compliance, we measured calf venous compliance before and during acute systemic α- and α-adrenergic blockade in eight young (27 ± 1 yr old, mean ± SE) and eight older healthy men (67 ± 2 yr old). Calf venous compliance was determined in supine subjects by inflating a thigh-collecting cuff to 60 mmHg for 8 min and then decreasing it (1 mmHg/s) to 0 mmHg while calf volume was indexed with a strain gauge. The slope (•10-3) of the pressure-compliance relation (compliance= β1 + 2•β2•cuff pressure), which is the first derivative of the quadratic pressure-volume relation [(Δlimb volume)+β0+β1•(cuff pressure) +β2•(cuff pressure)2] during reductions in cuff pressure, was used to quantify calf venous compliance. Calf venous compliance was ∼30% lower (P < 0.01) in older compared with young men before adrenergic blockade. In response to adrenergic blockade calf venous compliance did not increase in young (-2.62 ± 0.14 and -2.29 ± 0.18 ml•dl -1•mmHg-1, before and during blockade, respectively) or older men (-1.78 ± 0.27 and -1.68 ± 0.21 ml•dl -1•mmHg-1). Moreover, during adrenergic blockade differences in calf venous compliance between young and older men observed before adrenergic blockade persisted. Collectively, these data strongly suggest that adrenergic mechanisms neither directly restrain calf venous compliance in young or older men nor do they contribute to age-associated reductions in calf venous compliance in healthy men.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)