Noboru Toda and Tomio Okamura
Department of Pharmacology, Shiga University of Medical Science, Seta, Ohtsu 520-2192, Japan
Abstract: The vascular tone, vascular resistance and blood flow in the brain are regulated by neural and humoral factors in quite a different way from those of peripheral organs and tissues. In contrast to the dominant vasoconstrictor control in the periphery, the intracranial vascular tone is predominantly influenced by vasodilator mediators over vasoconstrictor ones. Recent studies have revealed that nitroxidergic vasodilator nerve and endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF) or K+ channel opening substance appear to play important roles in the regulation of cerebral arterial and arteriolar tone in primate and subprimate mammals, in addition to the accepted information concerning the crucial contribution of endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF) or nitric oxide (NO), polypeptides, prostanoids, etc. This article summarizes characteristic properties of vasodilator factors in controlling the cerebral arterial and arteriolar tone that undoubtedly contribute to circulatory homeostasis. The content includes vasodilator nerve, endogenous vasodilator substances, and vasodilator interventions such as hypoxia, hypercapnia and hyperosmolarity.
Keywords: Cerebral artery, Vasodilator nerve, Vasodilator substance, Vasodilator intervention, Nitric oxide