Coordination of mural elements and myofilaments during arteriolar constriction.
Arterioles undergo major morphological changes during vasoconstriction. We used transmission electron microscopy to study wall morphology in both dilated and constricted microvessels to understand the cellular basis of these changes. The relation between the orientation and density of myofilaments and the distribution of dense bodies was analyzed with respect to the level of microvessel tone. The data show a strong correlation between the degree of arteriolar constriction and both the orientation and density of myofilaments. In dilated arterioles, myofilament orientation was predominantly circumferential across the entire smooth muscle cell, averaging 84 +/- 2 degrees (SEM) relative to a radial reference line. In vessels constricted to 50% of their maximal diameter, myofilament orientation was dependent upon the location within the cell, being largely circumferential at the adventitial border (77 +/- 4 degrees) and shifting to a radial arrangement at the intimal border (36 +/- 5 degrees). The reorganization of myofilaments during constriction was associated with a decrease in myofilament density at the intimal-medial border of the smooth muscle cells. The decrease in myofilament density resulted from a selective withdrawal of myofilaments from periluminal areas where "ridges" had formed. Our observations suggest that an ordered distribution of membrane-associated dense bodies along the periluminal aspect of the smooth muscle cells is responsible for both the myofilament reorganization and ridge formation during vasoconstriction. Results of the present study are incorporated into a hypothetical model of arteriolar ultrastructure compatible with the mural reorganization observed during vasoconstriction.
- Copyright © 1986 by American Heart Association