Experiments were performed on conscious rats to (a) compare the responsiveness of the renal and hindquarter vascular beds to infusions of exogenous arginine vasopressin (AVP), and (b) determine whether either bed demonstrates V2-vasopressinergic vasodilation when the vasoconstrictor properties of AVP are blocked. Rats were chronically instrumented with pulsed Doppler flow probes on either the left renal artery or the distal abdominal aorta as well as with femoral arterial and venous catheters. One series of experiments examined the vascular responses of these two beds to exogenous AVP infused intravenously (i.v.) at 0.2, 2.0, or 5.0 ng/min. The lowest infusion rate was associated with no detectable changes in mean arterial blood pressure (MAP), heart rate (HR), renal or hindquarter blood flow (RBF or HQBF), or vascular resistance in these beds. In contrast, the higher infusion rates caused a marked increase in MAP, a decrease in HR, and a reduction in HQBF; RBF was unaffected, however. A second series of experiments tested for the presence of a V2-vasodilatory influence during infusion of AVP at 5 ng/min by selectively blocking V1- vasopressinergic receptors or both V1- and V2-receptor types. Little evidence for V2-mediated vasodilation was found in either vascular bed, however. We conclude that although the renal vasculature appears relatively insensitive to exogenous AVP, this insensitivity probably is not due to vasodilation mediated by activation of V2-receptors
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