The relative roles of neural and pressure gradient factors, causing a fall or maintenance of bronchial blood flow in exercising sheep, are unknown. These were examined in sheep prepared under thiopentone/isoflurane general anaesthesia with a pulsed Doppler probe mounted on the bronchial artery, and aortic pressure (Pa) catheter in superficial cervical artery. After recovery, Swan-Ganz catheters were inserted under local anaesthesia into the pulmonary artery. Bronchial flow and conductance (Qbr, Cbr), and pressure gradients (Pg; i.e. aortic minus right atrial, Pg_RAP; pulmonary artery, Pg_Ppa; and, left atrial (wedge) Pg_LAP) were derived from continuous records, after switching between downstream sites during and after moderately severe treadmill exercise (3.8 km.h⁻¹, for 1.7 min, 6 min recovery). The protocol was repeated after combined α₁,α₂-adrenoceptor/cholinoceptor blockade using phentolamine methanesulfonate and methscopolamine bromide. Bronchial flow fell in both receptor intact (INT) and (BL) blocked state. Pa rose in INT, but downstream pressures rose only 3.7 (RAP), 2.8 (Ppa) and 2.0 (LAP) mmHg (P for each <0.05) in both INT and BL. Pg_RAP and Pg_Ppa did not rise, but Pg_LAP rose 4.0 mmHg (P < 0.05). In BL, Pa fell, as did Pg_RAP (7.0 mmHg, P < 0.05), Pg_Ppa (8.9 mmHg, P < 0.001), but Pg_LAP did not change. Thus, downstream pressures change by small amounts, and pressure gradients to RAP and Ppa sites do not change during moderately severe exercise in normal sheep. The fall in Qbr in INT is due to neural factors, but in BL is due to a fall in Pg. The relative rise in Pg_LAP in both INT and BL favours redistribution within total Qbr to the pulmonary capillary/vein/left atrium site.
Archives of Physiology and Biochemistry Vol. 111, Issue 4, p. 309-313