This subproject is one of many research subprojects utilizing the resources provided by a Center grant funded by NIH/NCRR. The subproject and investigator (PI) may have received primary funding from another NIH source, and thus could be represented in other CRISP entries. The institution listed is for the Center, which is not necessarily the institution for the investigator. Research has shown that older people are less able to constrict cutaneous blood vessels in the cold. Since vasoconstriction increases the insulative capacity of the skin, impairment of this response causes increased heat loss in the cold and can make older people more susceptible to hypothermia. The primary site(s) of the age-related alteration in VC is unknown, but evidence points to efferent pathways (postganglionic sympathetic nerve activity, differential neurotransmitter effects, cutaneous vascular response) rather than primary age differences in hypothalamic integration.
The specific aim of the present application examines a possible and plausible site in the efferent control pathway at which the age-related attenuation of reflex VC may occur. The proposed technique, quantitative skin microneurography, represents a state-of-the-art in vivo experimental approach. Until recently, this technique, or recent refinements thereof, were not available to test the stated hypotheses in human skin in vivo.
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