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Sympathetic and sensory-motor nerves in peripheral small arteries

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  • Christian Aalkjaer
  • Holger Nilsson, University of Gothenburg
  • ,
  • Jo G.R. De Mey, Maastricht University

Small arteries, which play important roles in controlling blood flow, blood pressure, and capillary pressure, are under nervous influence. Their innervation is predominantly sympathetic and sensory motor in nature, and while some arteries are densely innervated, others are only sparsely so. Innervation of small arteries is a key mechanism in regulating vascular resistance. In the second half of the previous century, the physiology and pharmacology of this innervation were very actively investigated. In the past 10-20 yr, the activity in this field was more limited. With this review we highlight what has been learned during recent years with respect to development of small arteries and their innervation, some aspects of excitation-release coupling, interaction between sympathetic and sensory-motor nerves, cross talk between endothelium and vascular nerves, and some aspects of their role in vascular inflammation and hypertension. We also highlight what remains to be investigated to further increase our understanding of this fundamental aspect of vascular physiology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysiological Reviews
Pages (from-to)495-544
Number of pages50
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 the American Physiological Society.

    Research areas

  • Blood vessel, Neurovascular, Sensory nerves, Small arteries, Sympathetic nerves

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