To investigate the influence of the hormonal status on skin vascular reactivity, 18 males, 18 women using oral contraceptives (oc), 17 premenopausal, and 18 postmenopausal women were studied. Finger skin temperature (FST, in degrees C) and laser Doppler flux (LDF, in perfusion units) were measured during heating (45 degrees C water bath) and cooling (15 degrees C) followed by a subsequent recovery period. Maximal heat-induced vasodilation was significantly higher in women using oc and in premenopausal women when compared with males. During cooling, FST and LDF were significantly higher in males compared with women using oc and premenopausal women, respectively. FST was also higher in postmenopausal women than in women using oc. During recovery, FST and LDF were significantly higher in males than in women using oc, and LDF was also higher in males than in premenopausal women. These findings are consistent with a less pronounced and less prolonged cold-induced vasoconstriction in males. Other hemodynamic (blood pressure or heart rate) or biological factors (age, amount of subcutaneous fat, hand volume, or body mass index) that possibly influence peripheral blood flow were found not to influence the results. The observed differences in vascular reactivity toward temperature changes between subjects with a different hormonal status suggest that sex hormones influence finger skin perfusion.
- Copyright © 1993 the American Physiological Society