The effects of stimulation of the hepatic nerves, infusions of noradrenaline and occlusion of the carotid arteries on liver blood flow in the anaesthetized cat

J Physiol. 1967 Sep;192(1):21-41. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1967.sp008285.


1. In anaesthetized cats, the hepatic artery, portal vein and inferior vena cava pressures and the hepatic artery and portal vein flows were recorded using pressure transducers and electro-magnetic flowmeters.2. The hepatic nerves were stimulated with maximal stimuli for periods of 2-5 min. The magnitude of the response varied with the frequency of stimulation over the range 1-10 impulses/sec. The resistance to flow increased in both the hepatic artery and the portal vein.3. In the hepatic artery, mean pressure remained virtually constant, while the flow showed an initial marked decrease followed by a return towards the control level. In the portal vein, the flow remained constant while portal pressure showed a maintained increase. These responses were unaffected by previous administration of atropine and propranolol, but were blocked by phenoxybenzamine.4. Infusions of noradrenaline into the hepatic artery produced changes similar to those following stimulation of the nerves. In contrast, when the hepatic arterial pressure was maintained constant, intravenous infusions of noradrenaline produced a maintained decrease in hepatic artery flow.5. The occurrence of autoregulation of the hepatic artery flow at arterial pressures above 80-100 mm Hg was confirmed.6. Occlusion of the carotid arteries caused a rise in arterial pressure with little change in hepatic artery flow, but when the hepatic artery pressure was maintained at the pre-occlusion level the flow showed an abrupt decrease, usually followed by a recovery towards the control level. This decrease was abolished by section of the hepatic nerves and removal of the adrenal glands.7. It is concluded that the increase in hepatic artery resistance during occlusion of the carotid arteries was dependent on the hepatic nerves, the adrenal medullary secretions and an intrinsic autoregulatory mechanism.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atropine / pharmacology
  • Autonomic Nervous System / drug effects*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Carotid Arteries / physiology*
  • Cats
  • Hepatic Artery / physiology
  • Liver / blood supply
  • Liver / innervation*
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology*
  • Pentobarbital / pharmacology
  • Phenoxybenzamine / pharmacology
  • Portal Vein / physiology
  • Propranolol / pharmacology
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology*
  • Splanchnic Nerves / physiology*
  • Vascular Resistance


  • Phenoxybenzamine
  • Atropine
  • Propranolol
  • Pentobarbital
  • Norepinephrine