The effect of clonidine on venous haemodynamics in cats and dogs

G. A. Bentley, L. K. Cullen, J. A. Reynoldson, R. E. Widdop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Experiments were undertaken to investigate a possible action of clonidine on venous haemodynamics, using cats and dogs with autoperfused hindquarters. This provided an arterial input to the region independent of cardiac output. Venous capacitance in the hindquarters was indicated by blood flow in the abdominal vena cava, as measured by an electromagnetic flow probe around this vessel. It was found that in both cats and dogs, clonidine given intravenously (5 μg kg−1 i.v.) or into the cisterna magna (1 μg kg−1 i.c.m.) reduced mean arterial pressure and heart rate, but did not decrease hindquarter perfusion pressure. With the exception of dogs given i.v. clonidine, this drug caused a decrease in inferior vena cava (IVC) blood flow and this closely paralleled the hypotensive effect. However, when clonidine was given i.v. to dogs, the decrease in IVC blood flow preceded the hypotension. At the doses used, the reduction in IVC blood flow was larger following i.v. than i.c.m. clonidine in both species, and in all cases, it remained below control levels for at least 30 min, in spite of the constant arterial input to the region. In cats, dose‐response curves were constructed to noradrenaline and adrenaline given into the perfusion circuit (i.a.) before and after clonidine. Following i.v. and i.c.m. clonidine, there was a selective depression of the venoconstrictor actions of the catecholamines, but no change in the arterial pressor action. Radiographic and latex studies in the dog and cat respectively were performed in order to visualize collateral blood flow that could account for the persistent decreases in IVC blood flow. In both species, intraspinal collateral flows were demonstrated which returned blood to the heart after ligation of the inferior vena cava below the renal veins. However, it was not possible to demonstrate radiographically any changes produced by clonidine in the collateral flow because of technical difficulties. These results suggest that clonidine causes a selective reduction in sympathetic tone to the veins that is mediated at least partly by a central action, as well as an expansion of the collateral venous routes. This, together with the selective impairment of venoconstrictor responses to both noradrenaline and adrenaline, may account for the decrease in cardiac output that is most often reported following clonidine. 1986 British Pharmacological Society

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-171
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1986

Cite this