Cutaneous postural vasoconstriction is modified by expogenous but not endogenous female hormones in young women

GD Bishop, Margaret Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Previously reported attenuation of skin postural vasoconstriction in women during the luteal menstrual cycle phase may be due to a progesterone-mediated decrease in myogenic or veno-arteriolar (VAR) mechanisms. Skin perfusion was measured in the shin and foot dorsum by Laser Doppler Fluxometry during leg dependency that increased vascular transmural pressure below (myogenic constriction only) and above (myogenic and VAR) the 25 mmHg threshold for activation of the VAR, and during venous distension to activate the VAR alone (cuff inflation to 50 mmHg). In six young women with normal menstrual cycles, vasoconstrictor responses to all interventions did not differ between days 7-13 (follicular) and 18-23 (luteal) of the normal menstrual cycle when progesterone levels were low and at their peak respectively. In eight women taking combined oral contraceptives (OC) and tested during pill consumption days, reductions in foot skin perfusion were smaller (P = 0.05) than in the luteal phase of the normal cycle for leg dependency below (-36.9 +/- 5.2% OC vs. -52.5 +/- 7.8% luteal, mean +/- S.E.M.) and above (-43.7 +/- 3.4% OC vs. -55.1 +/- 4.8% luteal) the VAR threshold, and for venous distension (-53.1 +/- 2.6% OC vs. 66.4 +/- 5.5% luteal). In women with normal menstrual cycles, impaired postural vasoconstriction may be confined to those who experience pre-menstrual symptoms rather than a direct effect of endogenous hormones. Reduced vasoconstriction in the dependent foot during OC use is consistent with the known vasodilator action of exogenous hormones and its long-term effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-92
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Autonomic Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • oral contraceptive
  • veno-arteriolar response
  • myogenic
  • autonomic nervous system
  • menstrual cycle
  • limb dependency


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