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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2003 Oct;285(4):H1489-94. Epub 2003 Jun 19.

Myogenic and structural properties of cerebral arteries from the stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rat.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Cardiovascular Research Group, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9WL, UK.


The aims of the study were to compare the myogenic and structural properties of middle cerebral arteries (MCAs) from the stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHRSP) with MCAs from the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) before stroke development in SHRSP. Rats were fed a "Japanese" diet (low-protein rat chow and 1% NaCl in drinking water) for 8 wk, and cerebral arteries were studied in vitro at 12 wk using a pressure arteriograph. Systolic pressure was significantly increased in SHRSP compared with SHR at 12 wk. Between 60 and 180 mmHg, MCAs from SHR maintained an essentially constant diameter, i.e., displayed a "myogenic range," whereas the diameter of MCAs from SHRSP progressively increased as a function of pressure. Passive lumen diameter of MCAs from SHRSP was reduced at high pressure, and wall thickness and wall/lumen were increased, compared with SHR. Wall cross-sectional area was also increased in MCAs from SHRSP compared with the SHR, indicating growth. The stress-strain relationship was shifted to the left in MCAs from SHRSP, indicating decreased MCA distensibility compared with SHR. However, collagen staining with picrosirius red revealed a redistribution of collagen to the outer half of the MCA wall in SHRSP compared with SHR. These data demonstrate impaired myogenic properties in prestroke SHRSP compared with SHR, which may explain stroke development. The structural differences in MCAs from SHRSP compared with SHR were a consequence of both growth and a reduced distensibility.

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