We have previously reported the unique regional responses of facial skin blood flow (SkBF) to oral application of the basic tastes without simultaneous systemic circulatory changes. In the present study, we determined whether a systemic circulatory challenge due to sympathetic activation induces regional differences in facial SkBF by observing the responses in facial SkBF and blood pressure to a 2-min cold pressor test (CPT) and static handgrip exercise (HG) by right hand in 20 healthy subjects. The CPT significantly increased SkBF in the forehead, eyelid, cheek, upper lip and lower lip by 6 ± 2 to 8 ± 2 % (mean ± SEM) as compared to resting baseline, with a significant simultaneous increase (13 ± 2 %) in mean arterial pressure (MAP), whereas it significantly decreased the SkBF in the nose by 5 ± 2 %. The HG significantly increased SkBF in the forehead, cheek and lower lip by 6 ± 3 to 10 ± 3 %, with a significant simultaneous increase in MAP (13 ± 2 %), while it induced no significant change in the other regions. Increases in SkBF were greater in the right than left cheek during CPT. These results demonstrate that a systemic circulatory challenge via sympathetic activation elicits regional differences in the facial SkBF response.
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