A Lamellar Unit of Aortic Medial Structure and Function in Mammals
The close association of elastin, collagen, and smooth muscle in the mammalian aortic media results in viscoelastic properties that account for many of its static and dynamic mechanical features. The structural components of the media are precisely oriented in concentric layers, or lamellar units, of fairly uniform composition. A comparative study of the adult thoracic aorta in 10 mammalian species, including 15 canine breeds, showed that the number of lamellar units in the media of adult mammalian aortas is very nearly proportional to aortic radius regardless of species or variations in measured wall thickness. Estimated wall tensions ranged from 7,820 dynes/cm in a 28-g mouse to 203,000 dynes/cm in a 200,000-g sow, but the average tension per lamellar unit of an aortic media was remarkably constant regardless of species, ranging from 1,090 to 3,010 dynes/cm. The findings suggest that the elastin lamella and the contents of its adjacent interlamellar zone represent the unit of structure and function of the mammalian aortic wall.
- Accepted November 21, 1966.
- © 1967 American Heart Association, Inc.