Prostaglandins (PGs) belong to the family of prostanoids together with thromboxanes and are produced mainly from arachadonic acid by the enzyme cyclooxygenase. PGs are known to stimulate platelet aggregation, mediate inflammation and edema, play a role in bone metabolism and in biological adaptation of connective tissues e.g. tendon. This review covers the role of PG for mediating tissue blood flow at rest and during increases in metabolic demand such as exercise and reactive hyperaemia. There is strong evidence that PGs contribute to elevate blood flow at rest and during reactive hyperaemia in a variety of tissues. Their role for regulating the large increases in muscle blood flow during exercise is less clear which may be explained by redundant mechanisms. Several interactions are known to exist between specific vasodilator substances, and therefore PGs can act in synergy with other substances and contribute to functional hyperaemia. Furthermore, there is evidence for differential, tissue-specific influences of PGs where their influence on blood flow during exercise may be profound.
Keywords: vasodilation, exercise, muscle, tendon
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