We previously found that a single dose of B-type procyanidin mixture increase in skeletal muscle blood flow (BF). We compared BF changes following administration of (-)-epicatechin (EC, monomer) and the B-type procyanidins procyanidin B2 (B2, dimer), procyanidin C1 (C1, trimer), and cinnamtannin A2 (A2, tetramer). Each chemical was administered orally to rats, followed by BF measurement in cremaster arteriole for 60 min. About 10 and 100 µg/kg of B2 and C1 elicited BF increase, the effect was potent at 100 µg/kg. BF also increased significantly after administration of 10 µg/kg A2, but not with the administration at 100 µg/kg. EC yielded no BF changes. Co-treatment with the nonselective adrenaline blocker carvedilol attenuated the BF increase seen with 10 µg/kg A2 treatment. This outcome suggested the involvement of sympathetic nerve activation in the BF increase by this dose of A2. Co-treatment of 100 µg/kg A2 with the α2 blocker yohimbine exhibited an increase of BF significantly. The α2 adrenaline receptor in the vasomotor centre is an inhibitory receptor and it regulates hemodynamics. This result suggested that high doses of A2 did not alter BF because of activating the α2 adrenergic receptor. Phosphorylation of aortic endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) increased with 10 µg/kg A2 alone or co-treatment with 100 µg/kg A2 and yohimbine, but not with co-treatment of 10 µg/kg A2 and carvedilol or 100 µg/kg A2 alone. These results imply that A2 does not directly activate eNOS, but that shear stress from the increased BF might be associated with eNOS phosphorylation.
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