Vascular communication of vasomotor signals appears to coordinate the distribution of tissue blood flow. This study was performed to determine whether elevated tissue concentrations of adenosine or nitric oxide could induce vascular communicating signals. To test this, remote arteriolar responses were tested when drugs were applied either directly to an arteriole (∼20 μm diameter), or into the tissue in a region (with no vessels over 10 μm in diameter) that was 500 μm away from the arteriole and that bore no defined relationship to the flow path of the remote arteriole. In anesthetized hamster cheek pouch (n = 25), or cremaster muscle (n = 10), remote arteriolar responses were measured in response to nitric oxide (NO) donors (10–5 to 10–3 M), adenosine (10–5 to 10–3 M), or papaverine (10–5 to 10–2 M) applied for 40–120 s. Papaverine caused no remote response when applied directly while adenosine and NO donors caused similar, late-onset (10–20 s), dose-dependent, remote responses in both preparations. Remarkably however, only adenosine initiated a consistent remote arteriolar dilation when applied to the tissue site. Thus, increases in tissue adenosine may be critical for vascular communication of metabolic demands without regard to the specific blood flow path.
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