Neural mechanisms regulating neurohypophysial resistance arteries

D. F. Hanley, D. A. Wilson, M. A. Conway, R. J. Traystman, J. A. Bevan, J. E. Brayden

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We defined the extent of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) and noradrenergic influences on isolated 100- to 200-μm-diameter vessels from the resistance arterial circulation of the neurohypophysis. A dual extracranial (inferior hypophysial) and intracranial (superior hypophysial) arterial supply to the neurohypophysis was confirmed. The inferior hypophysial artery demonstrates noradrenergic and VIP-like perivascular nerves, whereas the superior hypophysial artery shows primarily VIP-like innervation. Pharmacological sensitivity of the inferior hypophysial to VIP [mean effective dose (ED50) = 10-8.2 M] and to norepinephrine (ED50 = 10-5.7 M) was demonstrated. The superior hypophysial reacted only to VIP (ED50 = 10-8.6 M). The physiological relevance of these findings was tested with transmural nerve stimulation. Frequency-dependent vasodilation of both inferior and superior hypophysial arteries was demonstrated. This dilation could not be blocked with atropine or propranolol. Frequency- dependent vasoconstriction was identified in extracranial vessels including the inferior hypophysial artery. This constriction is only partially blocked by prazosin, phentolamine, and guanethidine. When neurohypophysial resistance vessels are compared with larger circle of Willis arteries and similar-size pial vessels of other cerebral regions, they appear to have regionally unique neural mechanisms for regulating blood flow. Specifically whether controlled by periarterial nerves or other tissue influences, the inferior hypophysial artery appears to meet anatomic, pharmacological, and physiological definitions of neural control for both dilator and constrictor activities of flow to the neurohypophysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1605-H1615
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5 32-5
StatePublished - 1992


  • neurohypophysis
  • norepinephrine
  • resistance vessel
  • vasoactive intestinal polypeptide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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