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Circ Res. 2002 Nov 15;91(10):931-7.

Structure of cerebral arterioles in cystathionine beta-synthase-deficient mice.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Iowa College of Medicine and Cardiovascular Center, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.


We examined effects of hyperhomocysteinemia on structure and mechanics of cerebral arterioles. We measured plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) and pressure, diameter, and cross-sectional area of the vessel wall in maximally dilated cerebral arterioles in heterozygous cystathionine beta-synthase-deficient (CBS(+/-)) mice and wild-type (CBS(+/+)) littermates that were provided with drinking water that was unsupplemented (control diet) or supplemented with 0.5% L-methionine (high-methionine diet). Plasma tHcy was 5.0+/-1.1 micro mol/L in CBS(+/+) mice and 8.3+/-0.9 micro mol/L in CBS(+/-) mice (P<0.05 versus CBS(+/+) mice) fed the control diet. Plasma tHcy was 17.2+/-4.6 micro mol/L in CBS(+/+) mice and 21.2+/-3.9 micro mol/L in CBS(+/-) mice (P<0.05) fed the high-methionine diet. Cross-sectional area of the vessel wall was significantly increased in CBS(+/-) (437+/-22 micro m(2)) mice fed control diet and CBS(+/+) (442+/-36 micro m(2)) and CBS(+/-) (471+/-46 micro m(2)) mice fed high-methionine diet relative to CBS(+/+) (324+/-18 micro m(2)) mice fed control diet (P<0.05). During maximal dilatation, the stress-strain curves in cerebral arterioles of CBS(+/-) mice on control diet and CBS(+/+) and CBS(+/-) mice on high-methionine diet were shifted to the right of the curve in cerebral arterioles of CBS(+/+) mice on control diet, an indication that distensibility of cerebral arterioles was increased in mice with elevated levels of plasma tHcy. Thus, hyperhomocysteinemia in mice was associated with hypertrophy and an increase in distensibility of cerebral arterioles. These findings suggest that hyperhomocysteinemia promotes cerebral vascular hypertrophy and altered cerebral vascular mechanics, both of which may contribute to the increased incidence of stroke associated with hyperhomocysteinemia.

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