Thermoregulatory cutaneous vasodilation is diminished in the elderly. The goal of this study was to test the hypothesis that a reduction in nitric oxide (NO)-dependent mechanisms contributes to the attenuated reflex cutaneous vasodilation in older subjects. Seven young (23 ± 2 yr) and seven older (71 ± 6 yr) men were instrumented with two microdialysis fibers in the forearm skin. One site served as control (Ringer infusion), and the second site was perfused with 10 mM NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester to inhibit NO synthase (NOS) throughout the protocol. Water-perfused suits were used to raise core temperature 1.0°C. Red blood cell (RBC) flux was measured with laser-Doppler flowmetry over each microdialysis fiber. Cutaneous vascular conductance (CVC) was calculated as RBC flux per mean arterial pressure, with values expressed as a percentage of maximal vasodilation (infusion of 28 mM sodium nitroprusside). NOS inhibition reduced CVC from 75 ± 6% maximal CVC (CVCmax) to 53 ± 3% CVCmax in the young subjects and from 64 ± 5% CVCmax to 29 ± 2% CVCmax in the older subjects with a 1.0°C rise in core temperature. Thus the relative NO-dependent portion of cutaneous active vasodilation (AVD) accounted for ∼23% of vasodilation in the young subjects and 60% of the vasodilation in the older subjects at this level of hyperthermia (P < 0.001). In summary, NO-mediated pathways contributed more to the total vasodilatory response of the older subjects at high core temperatures. This suggests that attenuated cutaneous vasodilation with age may be due to a reduction in, or decreased vascular responsiveness to, the unknown neurotransmitter(s) mediating AVD.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology|
|Issue number||5 53-5|
|State||Published - May 1 2003|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)