Morphometry of exercise-induced right ventricular hypertrophy in the rat.
In our morphometric study of the effects of exercise on the heart, male Wistar-Kyoto rats at 5 weeks of age were subjected daily to a moderate treadmill running program that lasted for 7 weeks. The heart responded to physical conditioning by different magnitudes of tissue growth of the right (22%) and left (7%) ventricular myocardium, the latter change not statistically significant. The increase in right ventricular volume was associated with a 25% enlargement of ventricular area, a 26% average lengthening of the myocytes, and no change in sarcomere length and in ventricular midwall thickness. Exercise produced significant alterations in the quantitative parameters of the microvasculature of the right ventricle, but no appreciable changes in the left ventricle. Right ventricular hypertrophy was characterized by an absolute 44% growth of the endothelial luminal surface brought about through a 16% increase in capillary numerical density, and a 41% augmentation of the total length of the capillary network. Maximum diffusion distance from the capillary wall to the mitochondria of myocytes decreased 10% as a result of capillary proliferation and the lack of lateral expansion of myocyte cross-sectional area. Evaluation of the subcellular constituents of myocytes showed no change in the mitochondria:myofibrils volume ratio, indicating a growth of these components proportional to each other and to the growth of the myocyte population as a whole. It was concluded that, as a result of running exercise, right ventricular growth is analogous to eccentric hypertrophy in which the structural adaptations of the capillary bed can be expected to improve the diffusion and transport of oxygen within the tissue.
- Copyright © 1983 by American Heart Association