Methodological assessment of skin and limb blood flows in the human forearm during thermal and baroreceptor provocations

R. Matthew Brothers, Jonathan E. Wingo, Kimberly A. Hubing, Craig G. Crandall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Skin blood flow responses in the human forearm, assessed by three commonly used technologies-single-point laser-Doppler flowmetry, integrated laser-Doppler flowmetry, and laser-Doppler imaging-were compared in eight subjects during normothermic baseline, acute skin-surface cooling, and whole body heat stress (Δ internal temperature = 1.0 ± 0.2°C; P < 0.001). In addition, while normothermic and heat stressed, subjects were exposed to 30-mmHg lower-body negative pressure (LBNP). Skin blood flow was normalized to the maximum value obtained at each site during local heating to 42°C for at least 30 min. Furthermore, comparisons of forearm blood flow (FBF) measures obtained using venous occlusion plethysmography and Doppler ultrasound were made during the aforementioned perturbations. Relative to normothermic baseline, skin blood flow decreased during normothermia + LBNP (P < 0.05) and skin-surface cooling (P < 0.01) and increased during whole body heating (P < 0.001). Subsequent LBNP during whole body heating significantly decreased skin blood flow relative to control heat stress (P < 0.05). Importantly, for each of the aforementioned conditions, skin blood flow was similar between the three measurement devices (main effect of device: P > 0.05 for all conditions). Similarly, no differences were identified across all perturbations between FBF measures using plethysmography and Doppler ultrasound (P > 0.05 for all perturbations). These data indicate that when normalized to maximum, assessment of skin blood flow in response to vasoconstrictor and dilator perturbations are similar regardless of methodology. Likewise, FBF responses to these perturbations are similar between two commonly used methodologies of limb blood flow assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)895-900
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Blood flow
  • Heat stress
  • Laser-Doppler flowmetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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