New findings: What is the central question of this study? β-Adrenergic receptor activation modulates cutaneous vasodilatation and sweating in young adults. In this study, we assessed whether age-related differences in β-adrenergic regulation of these responses exist and whether they differ between men and women. What is the main finding and its importance? We showed that ageing augmented β-adrenergic cutaneous vasodilatation, although the pattern of response differed between men and women. Ageing had no effect on β-adrenergic sweating in men or women. Our findings advance our understanding of age-related changes in the regulation of cutaneous vasodilatation and sweating and provide new directions for research on the significance of enhanced β-adrenergic cutaneous vasodilatation in older adults.
Abstract: β-Adrenergic receptor agonists, such as isoprenaline, can induce cutaneous vasodilatation and sweating in young adults. Given that cutaneous vasodilatation and sweating responses to whole-body heating and to pharmacological agonists, such as acetylcholine, ATP and nicotine, can differ in older adults, we assessed whether ageing also modulates β-adrenergic cutaneous vasodilatation and sweating and whether responses differ between men and women. In the context of the latter, prior reports showed that the effects of ageing on cutaneous vasodilatation (evoked with ATP and nicotine) and sweating (stimulated by acetylcholine) were sex dependent. Thus, in the present study, we assessed the role of β-adrenergic receptor activation on forearm cutaneous vasodilatation and sweating in 11 young men (24 ± 4 years of age), 11 young women (23 ± 5 years of age), 11 older men (61 ± 8 years of age) and 11 older women (60 ± 8 years of age). Initially, a high dose (100 µm) of isoprenaline was administered via intradermal microdialysis for 5 min to induce maximal β-adrenergic sweating. Approximately 60 min after the washout period, three incremental doses of isoprenaline were administered (1, 10 and 100 µm, each for 25 min) to assess dose-dependent cutaneous vasodilatation. Isoprenaline-mediated cutaneous vasodilatation was greater in both older men and older women relative to their young counterparts. Augmented cutaneous vasodilatory responses were observed at 1 and 10 µm in women and at 100 µm in men. Isoprenaline-mediated sweating was unaffected by ageing, regardless of sex. We show that ageing augments β-adrenergic cutaneous vasodilatation differently in men and women, without influencing β-adrenergic sweating.
Keywords: endothelium-dependent vasodilatation; gender; microcirculation; sex hormones; skin blood flow; thermoregulation.
© 2020 The Authors. Experimental Physiology © 2020 The Physiological Society.