European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 113, Issue 2, pp 295–303 | Cite as

Role of nitric oxide and adenosine in the onset of vasodilation during dynamic forearm exercise

  • Darren P. CaseyEmail author
  • Essa A. Mohamed
  • Michael J. Joyner
Original Article


We tested the hypothesis that nitric oxide (NO) and adenosine contribute to the onset of vasodilation during dynamic forearm exercise. Twenty-two subjects performed rhythmic forearm exercise (20 % of maximum) during control and NO synthase (NOS) inhibition (N G-monomethyl-l-arginine; l-NMMA) trials. A subset of subjects performed a third trial of forearm exercise during combined inhibition of NOS and adenosine (aminophylline; n = 9). Additionally, a separate group of subjects (n = 7) performed rhythmic forearm exercise during control, inhibition of adenosine alone and combined inhibition of adenosine and NOS. Forearm vascular conductance (FVC; ml min−1 · 100 mmHg−1) was calculated from blood flow and mean arterial pressure (mmHg). The onset of vasodilation was assessed by calculating the slope of the FVC response for every duty cycle between baseline and steady state, and the number of duty cycles (1-s contraction/2-s relaxation) to reach steady state. NOS inhibition blunted vasodilation at the onset of exercise (11.1 ± 0.8 vs. 8.5 ± 0.6 FVC units/duty cycle; P < 0.001 vs. control) and increased the time to reach steady state (25 ± 1 vs. 32 ± 1 duty cycles; P < 0.001 vs. control). Vasodilation was blunted further with combined inhibition of NOS and adenosine (7.5 ± 0.6 vs. 6.2 ± 0.8 FVC units/duty cycle; P < 0.05 vs. l-NMMA alone), but not with aminophylline alone (16.0 ± 2.2 vs. 14.7 ± 2.0 FVC units/duty cycle; P = 0.67 vs. control). Our data indicate that NO and adenosine (in the absence of NO) contribute to the onset of vasodilation during dynamic forearm exercise.


Vasodilation Slope Nitric oxide Adenosine Forearm exercise 



We thank Branton Walker, Shelly Roberts, Jean Knutson, Karen Krucker, Chistopher Johnson and Pam Engrav for their technical assistance. We also thank the volunteers for their time. This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health research grants HL-46493 (to M.J. Joyner), AR-55819 (to D.P. Casey) and by CTSA RR-024150. The Caywood Professorship via the Mayo Foundation also supported this research.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Darren P. Casey
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Essa A. Mohamed
    • 1
  • Michael J. Joyner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiologyMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physiology and Biomedical EngineeringMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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