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Am J Physiol. 1996 Aug;271(2 Pt 2):H752-9.

Chronic alpha 1-adrenergic blockade stimulates terminal and arcade arteriolar development.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville 22908, USA.


The arteriolar network undergoes structural adaptation in several physiological and pathological conditions, including exercise, maturation, hypertension, and reduced tissue perfusion due to arterial ligation. Although many physical and biochemical stimuli for arteriolar adaptation have been proposed, the individual contributions of these specific stimuli have yet to be elucidated. We tested the hypothesis that hemodynamic stress is an important determinant of growth and remodeling in the arteriolar network. An immunofluorescence, dual-labeling technique for the smooth muscle (SM) contractile proteins SM alpha-actin and SM myosin heavy chain (MHC) was used to assess terminal and arcade arteriolar (AA) remodeling in the rat gracilis muscle arteriolar network in response to chronic vasodilation, a stimulus that elevates circumferential wall stress levels in the arterioles and capillaries. SM alpha-actin, a marker of SM from the earliest stages of differentiation, was used to delineate the terminal and AAs. SM-MHC, a marker of SM in later stages of differentiation, was used to assess the relative maturity state of SM in terminal arteriolar endings. Mean percentage of SM-MHC negative terminal arteriolar endings per muscle, a measure of terminal arteriolar development, increased from 37.6 to 56.0% after 1 wk of prazosin treatment and from 36.3 to 57.6% after 2 wk of treatment. Mean number of AA segments with diameters < 15 microns increased more than threefold from 1.25 to 5.25 after 2 wk, consistent with the formation of new AA segments by the anastomoses of small-diameter terminal arterioles. Because arteriolar remodeling proceeded in a network pattern that has been shown to be consistent with a circumferential wall stress-growth rule and inconsistent with a wall shear stress-growth rule, the experimental results suggest that circumferential wall stress is a stimulus for arteriolar network remodeling.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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