Blood Flow to the Brain and Skin

Intrinsic control mechanisms help to maintain a relatively constant blood flow to the brain. Blood flow to the skin, by contrast, can vary tremendously in response to regulation by sympathetic nerve stimulation.

The examination of cerebral and cutaneous blood flow is a study in contrasts. Cerebral blood flow is regulated primarily by intrinsic mechanisms; cutaneous blood flow is regulated by extrinsic mechanisms. Cerebral blood flow is relatively constant; cutaneous blood flow exhibits more variation than blood flow in any other organ. The brain is the organ that can least tolerate low rates of blood flow, whereas the skin can tolerate low rates of blood flow better than any other organ.

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