The effect of aging on skin blood flow in the Wistar-Kyoto rat

Marc Rendell, Brian K. Milliken, Steven F. McIntyre, Michele Satterlee, August J. Eckermann

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4 Scopus citations


Using laser Doppler techniques in man, we have previously demonstrated that skin blood flow decreases linearly with age. In previous work, we have shown similarities in skin blood flow properties between man and the rat. Our goal was to assess a possible aging effect of skin blood flow in the rat. We determined skin blood flow sequentially in 13 Wistar-Kyoto rats, beginning at 3 months of age, then at 6, 12, 15 and 18 months. We measured flow on the back, the base of the tail, the upper leg, all nutritively (NUTR) perfused sites, and on the plantar paw surface, which is perfused chiefly by arteriovenous anastomotic (AVA) capillaries. We measured flow, microvascular volume and red blood cell velocity at basal temperature and also heated the skin locally to 44°C, to elicit maximal vasodilation. Skin blood flow declined in a linear fashion with increasing age. The decrease was in the order of 15% over 18 months and occurred at both NUTR sites and the paw. The decrease was due to reduced microvascular volume, presumably representing loss of skin capillaries. Red blood cell velocity was not reduced; in fact, it was significantly increased at several NUTR sites. The WKY rat provides an excellent model of aging of the skin microvasculature. The changes we have demonstrated, while not identical to those we have previously demonstrated in man, are sufficiently similar to permit further exploration of the mechanisms of these changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-518
Number of pages8
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology -- Part A: Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology


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