Responses of the Superficial Limb Veins of the Dog to Changes in Temperature
The lateral saphenous vein of the dog was perfused with homologous blood at constant, flow. Changes in perfusion pressure were used to measure active changes in venous tone. Cooling of the perfusate caused the vein to constrict and warming to relax. Most of the change occurred over the temperature range of 27° to 42°C. The powerful venoconstrictor response to cooling depended on intact sympathetic nerves, since it was reduced by lumbar sympathectomy and largely abolished by alpha-receptor or ganglionic blockade. The response was confined to the vein being cooled. By comparison, cooling the body core when the temperature of the blood in the vein was 37°C caused a generalized constriction of the superficial limb veins. These responses were impaired by anesthetic agents (for example, pentobarbital), by generalized hypoxia, and by arterial hypotension. The data indicate a role for the cutaneous veins in temperature regulation. In the cold, the venous return is directed preferentially to the venae comitantes for heat preservation through countercurrent exchange with the arteries, and in warmth to the superficial veins for heat dissipation.
- Accepted April 10, 1968.
- © 1968 American Heart Association, Inc.