Blood flow responses to intra-arterial acetylcholine in man: effects of basal flow and conduit vessel length

P. J. Chowienczyk*, J. R. Cockcroft, J. M. Ritter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

1. Acetylcholine relaxes human resistance vessels and releases nitric oxide and other factors from the endothelium. Comparison of responses to acetylcholine with those to an endothelium-independent vasodilator (such as nitroprusside) forms the basis of the so-called acetylcholine test of endothelial function. However, when this test is applied in vivo by intra- arterial infusion, the metabolic instability of acetylcholine may result in differential responses to these drugs arising from anatomical rather than functional differences. 2. Vasodilator responses to brachial artery infusions of acetylcholine (41 and 83 nmol/min) and sodium nitroprusside (11 and 38 nmol/min) were measured in 30 healthy human subjects using venous occlusion plethysmography. 3. Responses to acetylcholine showed a greater dependence on resting blood flow (P < 0.05) and on forearm length (P < 0.05) than those to sodium nitroprusside (results predicted by a simple blood flow model). 4. Correction for forearm length abolished an apparent difference of 59% between responses to acetylcholine in men and women. Conduit vessel geometry and resting blood flow influence the acetylcholine test of endothelial function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-51
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Science
Volume87
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • endothelium
  • forearm blood flow
  • nitric oxide
  • sex difference

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