Concluding Remarks

Ministry Letters

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The endothelial cells lining the vessels of the cutaneous vasculature share many features in common with those elsewhere in the body. They play a pivotal role in vascular homeostasis both as the functional barrier to the movement of water, solutes, and cells between the blood and the tissues and as a rich source of a wide range of vasoactive autocoids with both autocrine and paracrine actions, many of which have been implicated in the modulation of the vascular response. The cutaneous vasculature affords a unique opportunity to study microvascular function in humans in vivo and by direct interrogation of the endothelium and surrounding tissue space to elucidate its role in both health and disease.


Cutaneous inflammatory response: The response of the skin to an injurious stimulus, classically the weal and flare response, resulting from changes in microvascular perfusion and integrity

Laser Doppler imaging: Intravital imaging technique that measures red blood cell movement, used to evaluate vascular flux.

Microdialysis: A sampling technique used to recover water-soluble solutes from the interstitial space.

Skin microcirculation: The small blood vessels supplying the skin, highly organized into two horizontal plexuses.


1. Braverman, I. M. (2000). The cutaneous microcirculation. J. Invest. Dermatol. Symp. Proc. 5, 3-9.

2. Clough, G. F., and Church, M. K. (2002). Vascular responses in the skin: An accessible model of inflammation. News Physiol. Sci.. 17, 170-174.

3. Khan, F., and Belch, J. J. (1999). Skin blood flow in patients with systemic sclerosis and Raynaud's phenomenon: effects of oral L-arginine supplementation. J. Rheumatol. 26, 2389-2394.

4. Kellogg, D. L., Jr., Morris, S. R., Rodriguez, S. B., Liu, Y., Grossmann, M., Stagni, G., and Shepherd, A. M. (1998). Thermoregulatory reflexes and cutaneous active vasodilation during heat stress in hypertensive humans. J. Appl. Physiol. 85, 175-180.

5. Boutsiouki, P., Thompson, J. P., and Clough, G. F. (2001). Effects of local blood flow on the percutaneous absorption of the organophos-phorus compound malathion: a microdialysis study in man. Arch. Toxicol. 75, 321-328.

6. Berghoff, M., Kathpal, M., Kilo, S., Hilz, M. J., and Freeman, R. (2002). Vascular and neural mechanisms of ACh-mediated vasodila-tion in the forearm cutaneous microcirculation. J. Appl. Physiol. 92, 780-788.

7. Swain, I. D., and Grant, L. J. (1989). Methods of measuring skin blood flow. Phys.Med.Biol. 34, 151-175.

8. Groner, W., Winkelman, J. W., Harris, A. G., Ince, C., Bouma, G. J., Messmer, K., and Nadeau, R. G. (1999). Orthogonal polarization spectral imaging: a new method for study of the microcirculation. Nat. Med. 5, 1209-1212.

9. Clough, G. F., Bennett, A. R., and Church, M. K. (1998). Effects of H, antagonists on the cutaneous vascular response to histamine and bradykinin: a study using scanning laser Doppler imaging. B. J. Dermatol. 138, 806-814.

10. Schmelz, M., and Petersen, L. J. (2001). Neurogenic inflammation in human and rodent skin. News. Physiol. Sci. 16, 33-37.

11. Muller, M. (2002). Science, medicine, and the future: Microdialysis. BMJ324, 588-591.

12. Groth, L. Cutaneous microdialysis—methodology and validation. (1996). Acta. Derm. Venereol. (Stockh.) Suppl. 76, 1-61.

13. Newman, J. M., Di Maria, C. A., Rattigan, S., and Clark, M. G. (2001). Nutritive blood flow affects microdialysis O/I ratio for [(14)C]ethanol and (3)H(2)O in perfused rat hindlimb. Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol. 281, H2731-H2737.

14. Schmelz, M., Luz, O., Averbeck, B., and Bickel, A. (1997). Plasma extravasation and neuropeptide release in human skin as measured by intradermal microdialysis. Neurosci. Let. 230, 117-120.

15. Leurs, R., Church, M. K., and Taglialatela, M. (2002). H1-antihistamines: inverse agonism, anti-inflammatory actions and cardiac effects. Clin. Exp. Allergy 32, 489-498.

16. Wilkins, B. W., Holowatz, L. A., Wong, B. J., and Minson, C. T. (2003). Nitric oxide is not permissive for cutaneous active vasodilatation in humans. J. Physiol. 548, 963-969.

Capsule Biography

Geraldine Clough is a vascular physiologist whose work over many years has focused on functional responses of the microvasculature in human skin in inflammation and its assessment in vivo. Her work is currently supported by grants from the British Heart Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, as well as from industry.

Martin Church is a pharmacologist with a special interest in the mechanisms of allergic responses and the implications of these for treatment, areas on which he has published widely.

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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