Large arterioles in the control of blood flow: Role of endothelium-dependent dilation

Ulrich Pohl*, C. De Wit, T. Gloe

*Corresponding author for this work
69 Citations (Scopus)


Although it is generally assumed that small arterioles form the major site of vascular resistance, microcirculatory studies revealed that 40-55% of the total network resistance can reside in large arterioles and small arteries. Thus, the mechanisms that control smooth muscle tone in these vessels have a major impact on the overall conductance of the vascular network. These control mechanisms are different from those in small arterioles: Aside from an apparently reduced sensitivity to metabolites, the large resistance vessels are normally too far away from the capillary areas which they feed to be reached by diffusing metabolites from dependent cells within a reasonable period of time. Rather, recent intravital microscopic studies suggest that large resistance vessels are under light control of endothelial factors such as nitric oxide and endothelium-derived hyperpolarising factor (EDHF). Nitric oxide opposes myogenic constrictions of large arterioles that potentially would impair tissue perfusion and oxygenation. Moreover, nitric oxide and EDHF play an important role in the coordination of large and small resistance vessel behaviour that is pivotal for the adaptation of blood flow to altered tissue oxygen demands.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Physiologica Scandinavica
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)505-510
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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