Paediatrics Publications

Document Type


Publication Date



Experimental Physiology





First Page


Last Page


URL with Digital Object Identifier



This study tested the hypothesis that the compliance (C) and viscoelasticity (K) of the forearm vascular bed are controlled by myogenic and/or α-adrenergic receptor (αAR) activation. Heart rate (HR) and waveforms of brachial artery blood pressure (Finometer) and forearm blood flow (Doppler ultrasound) were measured in baseline conditions and during infusion of noradrenaline (NA; αAR agonist), with and without phentolamine (αAR antagonist; n= 10; 6 men and 4 women). These baseline and αAR-agonist-based measures were repeated when the arm was positioned above or below the heart to modify the myogenic stimulus. A lumped Windkessel model was used to quantify the values of forearm C and K in each set of conditions. Baseline forearm C was inversely, and K directly, related to the myogenic load (P < 0.001). Compared with saline infusion, C was increased, but K was unaffected, with phentolanine, but only in the 'above' position. Compliance was reduced (P < 0.001) and K increased (P= 0.06) with NA infusion (main effects of NA) across arm positions; phentolamine minimized these NA-induced changes in C and K for both arm positions. Examination of conditions with and without NA infusion at similar forearm intravascular pressures indicated that the NA-induced changes in C and K were due largely to the concurrent changes in blood pressure. Therefore, within the range of arm positions used, it was concluded that vascular stiffness and vessel wall viscoelastic properties are acutely affected by myogenic stimuli. Additionally, forearm vascular compliance is sensitive to baseline levels of αAR activation when transmural pressure is low. © 2011 The Physiological Society.