Matching coronary blood flow to myocardial oxygen consumption

Johnathan D. Tune, Mark W. Gorman, Eric O. Feigl

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

205 Scopus citations


At rest the myocardium extracts ∼75% of the oxygen delivered by coronary blood flow. Thus there is little extraction reserve when myocardial oxygen consumption is augmented severalfold during exercise. There are local metabolic feedback and sympathetic feedforward control mechanisms that match coronary blood flow to myocardial oxygen consumption. Despite intensive research the local feedback control mechanism remains unknown. Physiological local metabolic control is not due to adenosine, ATP-dependent K+ channels, nitric oxide, prostaglandins, or inhibition of endothelin. Adenosine and ATP-dependent K+ channels are involved in pathophysiological ischemic or hypoxic coronary dilation and myocardial protection during ischemia. Sympathetic β-adrenoceptor-mediated feedforward arteriolar vasodilation contributes ∼25% of the increase in coronary blood flow during exercise. Sympathetic α-adrenoceptor-mediated vasoconstriction in medium and large coronary arteries during exercise helps maintain blood flow to the vulnerable subendocardium when cardiac contractility, heart rate, and myocardial oxygen consumption are high. In conclusion, several potential mediators of local metabolic control of the coronary circulation have been evaluated without success. More research is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-415
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • ATP-dependent K channels
  • Adenosine
  • Feedback control
  • Feedforward control
  • Nitric oxide
  • Norepinephrine


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