Reproducibility of cutaneous vascular conductance responses to slow local heating assessed using seven-laser array probes

Ellen A. Dawson, David A. Low, Iris H.M. Meeuwis, Floor G. Kerstens, Ceri L. Atkinson, Nigel Timothy Cable, Daniel J. Green, Dick H.J. Thijssen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Gradual local heating of the skin induces a largely NO-mediated vasodilatation. However, use of this assessment of microvascular health is limited because little is known about its reproducibility. Methods: Healthy volunteers (n = 9) reported twice to the laboratory. CVC, derived from laser Doppler flux and mean arterial pressure, was examined in response to a standardized local heating protocol (0.5°C per 150 second from 33°C to 42°C, followed by 20 minutes at 44°C). Skin responses were examined at two locations on the forearm (between-site). Heating was repeated after a break of 24-72 hours (between-day). Reproducibility of skin responses at 33-42°C is presented for absolute CVC and relative CVC responses corrected for maximal CVC at 44°C (%CVCmax). Results: Between-day reproducibility of baseline CVC and %CVCmax for both sites was relatively poor (22-30%). At 42°C, CVC and %CVCmax responses showed less variation (9-19%), whilst absolute CVC responses at 44°C were 14-17%. Between-day variation for %CVCmax increased when using data from site 1 on day 1, but site 2 on the subsequent day (25%). Conclusion: Day-to-day reproducibility of baseline laser Doppler-derived skin perfusion responses is poor, but acceptable when absolute and relative skin perfusion to a local gradual heating protocol is utilized and site-to-site variation is minimized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-284
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Early online date23 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • Endothelial function
  • Local heating
  • Microvasculature
  • Nitric oxide
  • Skin microcirculation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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