The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of nicotine on intestinal blood flow and oxygen consumption. The intravenous infusion of nicotine at doses corresponding to those experienced by smokers produced a transient increase in systemic arterial blood pressure and mesenteric blood flow. Subsequently a steady-state response developed that consisted of a reduction in mesenteric blood flow due to both a decrease in blood pressure and an increase in intestinal vascular resistance. This increase in resistance was probably due to increased levels of circulating catecholamines. The intra-arterial infusion of nicotine into the intestinal circulation at doses experienced by the average smoker had no effect on either intestinal blood flow or oxygen consumption. Similarly, under in vitro conditions nicotine had no direct effect on intestinal vascular smooth muscle tension. Thus, nicotine appears to reduce intestinal blood flow indirectly as a result of its systemic effects.
- Copyright © 1984 the American Physiological Society