Nocturnal variations in human lower leg subcutaneous blood flow related to sleep stages

J H Sindrup, J Kastrup, P L Madsen, Hanne Rolighed Christensen, B Jørgensen, G Wildschiødtz


Nocturnal subcutaneous adipose tissue blood flow rate was measured in the lower legs of 10 normal human subjects together with systemic arterial blood pressure, heart rate, and registration of sleep stages under ambulatory conditions. The 133Xe washout technique, portable CdTe(Cl) detectors, and a portable data storage unit were used for measurement of blood flow rates. The sleep recordings were performed with a portable computerized sleep analysis system. In accordance with the results of previous studies, a hyperemic blood flow rate phase (mean increase 140%) for 100 min was observed approximately 60 min after the subjects went to bed. The moment of onset of the hyperemic phase was closely related to the moment of onset of the first episode of deep sleep (stages 3 and 4). There was a significant (P < 0.01) overrepresentation of deep sleep in the hyperemic phase compared with adjacent phases, and rapid-eye-movement sleep predominantly occurred in the latter part of the night, when the subcutaneous blood flow rate was stable. The results of the present study are in accordance with current theories of the interrelationship between the thermoregulatory and the arousal state control systems and, thus, might suggest that the nightly subcutaneous hyperemia represents a thermoregulatory effector mechanism.

TidsskriftJournal of Applied Physiology
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)1246-52
Antal sider7
StatusUdgivet - okt. 1992


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