Theoretical models for regulation of blood flow

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66 Scopus citations


Blood-flow rate in the normal microcirculation is regulated to meet the metabolic demands of the tissues, which vary widely with position and with time, but is relatively unaffected by changes of arterial pressure over a considerable range. The regulation of blood flow is achieved by the combined effects of multiple interacting mechanisms, including sensitivity to pressure, flow rate, metabolite levels, and neural signals. The main effectors of flow regulation, the arterioles and small arteries, are located at a distance from the regions of tissue that they supply. Flow regulation requires the sensing of metabolic and hemodynamic conditions and the transfer of information about tissue metabolic status to upstream vessels. Theoretical approaches can contribute to the understanding of flow regulation by providing quantitative descriptions of the mechanisms involved, by showing how these mechanisms interact in networks of interconnected microvessels supplying metabolically active tissues, and by establishing relationships between regulatory processes occurring at the microvascular level and variations of metabolic activity and perfusion in whole tissues. Here, a review is presented of previous and current theoretical approaches for investigating the regulation of blood flow in the microcirculation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-775
Number of pages11
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2008


  • Autoregulation
  • Conducted responses
  • Flow regulation
  • Metabolic control
  • Myogenic control
  • Theoretical models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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