Heterogeneous control of blood flow amongst different vascular beds

Caryl E. Hill*, Jacqueline K. Phillips, Shaun L. Sandow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

138 Citations (Scopus)


The control and maintenance of vascular tone is due to a balance between vasoconstrictor and vasodilator pathways. Vasomotor responses to neural, metabolic and physical factors vary between vessels in different vascular beds, as well as along the same bed, particularly as vessels become smaller. These differences result from variation in the composition of neurotransmitters released by perivascular nerves, variation in the array and activation of receptor subtypes expressed in different vascular beds and variation in the signal transduction pathways activated in either the vascular smooth muscle or endothelial cells. As the study of vasomotor responses often requires pre-existing tone, some of the reported heterogeneity in the relative contributions of different vasodilator mechanisms may be compounded by different experimental conditions. Biochemical variations, such as the expression of ion channels, connexin subtypes and other important components of second messenger cascades, have been documented in the smooth muscle and endothelial cells in different parts of the body. Anatomical variations, in the presence and prevalence of gap junctions between smooth muscle cells, between endothelial cells and at myoendothelial gap junctions, between the two cell layers, have also been described. These factors will contribute further to the heterogeneity in local and conducted responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-60
Number of pages60
JournalMedicinal Research Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Connexins
  • Gap junctions
  • Receptors
  • Vasoconstriction
  • Vasodilation

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