1. Haemodynamic and metabolic effects of intravenous infusion of adenosine, an endogenous vasodilator, were studied in healthy humans.
2. Catheters were inserted into pulmonary and brachial arteries and into the hepatic and subclavian veins. Cardiac output was determined according to the Fick principle, and splanchnic blood flow was measured by using extraction of Indocyanine Green. Skin blood flow was estimated by a laser Doppler technique, calf blood flow by venous occlusion plethysmography and skeletal muscle and adipose tissue blood flow by a local isotope clearance technique.
3. Adenosine (infused in steps from 40 to 80 μg min−-1 kg−-1 into a central vein) elicited a gradual reduction in the peripheral vascular resistance to less than 50% of the basal level. There was a slight increase in the systemic blood pressure, but the pulmonary arterial and the ventricular filling pressures were unchanged. Cardiac output was doubled, accomplished by a combination of a positive chronotropic effect and an increase in stroke volume, which may be secondary to diminished peripheral resistance.
4. Skin blood flow increased by 100% at 50 μg of adenosine min−-1 kg−-1, whereas splanchnic blood flow rose significantly at 60 μg of adenosine min−-1 kg−-1. Blood flow in the calf, gastrocnemius muscle and adipose tissue did not change significantly.
5. Arterial concentrations of noradrenaline and adrenaline increased by 62 and 43%, respectively, during infusion of adenosine. Arterial levels of glycerol were depressed by more than 50%, but those of glucose and pyruvate were unchanged.
6. In conclusion, exogenous adenosine caused a marked systemic vasodilatation, with different responsiveness in the investigated vascular beds. The vasodilatation occurred in the presence of an increase in generalized sympathetic activity. Adipose tissue blood flow was unaltered despite a considerable reduction in fat mobilization.