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Regulation of the skeletal muscle blood flow in humans

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In humans, skeletal muscle blood flow is regulated by an interaction between several locally formed vasodilators, including NO and prostaglandins. In plasma, ATP is a potent vasodilator that stimulates the formation of NO and prostaglandins and, very importantly, can offset local sympathetic vasoconstriction. Adenosine triphosphate is released into plasma from erythrocytes and endothelial cells, and the plasma concentration increases in both the feed artery and the vein draining the contracting skeletal muscle. Adenosine also stimulates the formation of NO and prostaglandins, but the plasma adenosine concentration does not increase during exercise. In the skeletal muscle interstitium, there is a marked increase in the concentration of ATP and adenosine, and this increase is tightly coupled to the increase in blood flow. The sources of interstitial ATP and adenosine are thought to be skeletal muscle cells and endothelial cells. In the interstitium, both ATP and adenosine stimulate the formation of NO and prostaglandins, but ATP has also been suggested to induce vasoconstriction and stimulate afferent nerves that signal to increase sympathetic nerve activity. Adenosine has been shown to contribute to exercise hyperaemia, whereas the role of ATP remains uncertain due to lack of specific purinergic receptor blockers for human use. The purpose of this review is to address the interaction between vasodilator systems and to discuss the multiple proposed roles of ATP in human skeletal muscle blood flow regulation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental Physiology
Volume99
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1552-8
Number of pages7
ISSN0958-0670
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014

ID: 45093592