Effect of Changing Metabolic Rate on Local Blood Flow Control in the Canine Hindlimb

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This study examined the effect of changing hindlimb metabolic rate on hindlimb blood flow control in anesthetized dogs. The hyperemias induced by graded levels of arterial hypoxia and the degree of steady state autoregulation evoked by changes in blood pressure were measured. Metabolic rate was increased above the resting value by direct electrical stimulation of hindlimb muscles at rates from 0.5 to 1.5 pulses/second, and in three dogs was reduced by cooling. In response to 6 minutes of arterial hypoxia, hindlimb blood flow steadily increased. At rest, and at each level of muscle stimulation, the steepness of the response increased as arterial oxygen saturation (SAO2) decreased. At all levels of SAO2, the response was steeper at increasing stimulation rates. For SAO2 > 50%, the relationship between the percentage increase in blood flow from control and SAO2, however, was unaffected by the degree of muscle activity, suggesting that during mild to moderate hypoxia the dynamics of the response were similar whether the muscles were at rest or exercising. The responses to severe hypoxia (SAO2 < 50%) during stimulation were significantly enhanced compared with those at rest. Autoregulation of blood flow was measured in the steady state by comparing the relative change in blood flow from control with the relative change in blood pressure that produced it. Steady state autoregulation was weak at rest, but improved markedly with increasing muscle stimulation. Conversely, cooling the hindlimb depressed the resting steady state autoregulation. A close correlation was found between the degree of autoregulation and the hindlimb metabolic rate. The results suggest that tissue metabolic rate determines the precision of local blood flow control.

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