Mechanical and morphological properties of arterial resistance vessels in young and old spontaneously hypertensive rats.
We studied alterations in structural and mechanical properties of mesenteric arterial resistance vessels from young (6-week) and old (50-week) spontaneously hypertensive (SHR)and matched normotensive Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats. Emphasis was placed upon relating the active tension capabilities of these vessels to their smooth muscle cell content. Cylindrical segments, 0.7 mm long with internal diameters of 150 micrometer, were mounted in a myograph capable of recording circumferential vessel wall tension and dimensions. Comparisons of vessel morphology and mechanics were performed at a normalized internal circumference, L1,where active tension (delta T1) is near maximum. Arterial wall and medial hypertrophy were observed in young and old SHR. Since the percent smooth muscle cells within the media for SHR was similar to that of WKY, both increased smooth muscle cell and connective tissue content account for the medial hypertrophy. These differences in SHR vessels were reflected directly in their passive and active mechanical properties. Fully relaxed vessels from SHR were less compliant, and upon activation at L1 (high potassium depolarization), delta T1 was not different for young SHR and WKY, but values for old SHR were 35% greater (P less than 0.05) than for WKY. When relating the active force generation of the vessel to the actual smooth muscle cell area, values for smooth muscle cell stress (force/area) were similar for SHR and WKY at both ages. In addition, similarities were observed for active dynamic mechanical measurements of Young's modulus and half response time. Genetic hypertension in rats therefore appears to be associated with the development of increased vessel contractility determined by a greater number of smooth muscle cells which possess contractile properties similar to those of normotensive vessels.
- Copyright © 1979 by American Heart Association