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BACKGROUND: Sympathetically mediated venoconstriction is augmented by exogenously administered angiotensin II. This study was designed to assess whether endogenous angiotensin II influences sympathetically mediated venous tone. METHODS: Responses of dorsal hand veins to local intravenous administration of subsystemic doses of losartan, an angiotensin II type-1 receptor antagonist, were assessed with use of a well-validated displacement technique in eight healthy male volunteers. In a four-phase study, responses to local infusions of angiotensin II (4 to 64 ng/min) and norepinephrine (1 to 128 ng/min) or to sympathetic venoconstriction produced by a single deep breath were compared in the presence of either saline placebo or 30 microg/min losartan. Each phase of the study was conducted on a separate day, in random order, and each phase was separated by at least 1 week. RESULTS: Angiotensin II (p = 0.03) and norepinephrine (p < 0.001) caused dose-dependent venoconstriction. Losartan attenuated the venoconstriction induced by angiotensin II (p = 0.048) but had no effect on the responses to norepinephrine or the venoconstriction induced by a single deep breath. CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to exogenously administered angiotensin II, basal endogenous angiotensin II does not influence sympathetically mediated venoconstriction in healthy humans. However, endogenous angiotensin II may have a role in circumstances of renin-angiotensin system activation, such as salt depletion.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin pharmacol ther

Publication Date





327 - 333


Adrenergic alpha-Agonists, Adult, Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists, Antihypertensive Agents, Area Under Curve, Hand, Humans, Infusions, Intravenous, Losartan, Male, Norepinephrine, Receptors, Angiotensin, Renin-Angiotensin System, Single-Blind Method, Vasoconstriction, Veins