The cutaneous vasculature is an accessible tissue that can be used to assess microvascular function in humans. Intradermal microdialysis is a minimally invasive technique used to investigate mechanisms of vascular smooth muscle and endothelial function in the cutaneous circulation. This technique allows for the pharmacological dissection of the pathophysiology of microvascular endothelial dysfunction as indexed by decreased nitric oxide-mediated vasodilation, an indicator of cardiovascular disease development risk. In this technique, a microdialysis probe is placed in the dermal layer of the skin, and a local heating unit with a laser Doppler flowmetry probe is placed over the probe to measure the red blood cell flux. The local skin temperature is clamped or stimulated with direct heat application, and pharmacological agents are perfused through the probe to stimulate or inhibit intracellular signaling pathways in order to induce vasodilation or vasoconstriction or to interrogate mechanisms of interest (co-factors, antioxidants, etc.). The cutaneous vascular conductance is quantified, and mechanisms of endothelial dysfunction in disease states can be delineated.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Neuroscience
- General Chemical Engineering
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Immunology and Microbiology