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Physiol Rev. 1999 Apr;79(2):387-423.

Signaling mechanisms underlying the vascular myogenic response.

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  • 1Department of Medical Physiology, Microcirculation Research Institute, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA.


The vascular myogenic response refers to the acute reaction of a blood vessel to a change in transmural pressure. This response is critically important for the development of resting vascular tone, upon which other control mechanisms exert vasodilator and vasoconstrictor influences. The purpose of this review is to summarize and synthesize information regarding the cellular mechanism(s) underlying the myogenic response in blood vessels, with particular emphasis on arterioles. When necessary, experiments performed on larger blood vessels, visceral smooth muscle, and even striated muscle are cited. Mechanical aspects of myogenic behavior are discussed first, followed by electromechanical coupling mechanisms. Next, mechanotransduction by membrane-bound enzymes and involvement of second messengers, including calcium, are discussed. After this, the roles of the extracellular matrix, integrins, and the smooth muscle cytoskeleton are reviewed, with emphasis on short-term signaling mechanisms. Finally, suggestions are offered for possible future studies.

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