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J Biomech Eng. 2004 Feb;126(1):76-81.

Mechanical properties of rat middle cerebral arteries with and without myogenic tone.

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Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA.


The inner diameter and wall thickness of rat middle cerebral arteries (MCAs) were measured in vitro in both a pressure-induced, myogenically-active state and a drug-induced, passive state to quantify active and passive mechanical behavior. Elasticity parameters from the literature (stiffness derived from an exponential pressure-diameter relationship, beta, and elasticity in response to an increment in pressure, Einc-p) and a novel elasticity parameter in response to smooth muscle cell (SMC) activation, Einc-a, were calculated. beta for all passive MCAs was 9.11 +/- 1.07 but could not be calculated for active vessels. The incremental stiffness increased significantly with pressure in passive vessels; Einc-p (10(6) dynes/cm2) increased from 5.6 +/- 0.5 at 75 mmHg to 14.7 +/- 2.4 at 125 mmHg, (p < 0.05). In active vessels, Einc-p (10(6) dynes/cm2) remained relatively constant (5.5 +/- 2.4 at 75 mmHg and 6.2 +/- 1.0 at 125 mmHg). Einc-a (10(6) dynes/cm2) increased significantly with pressure (from 15.1 +/- 2.3 at 75 mmHg to 49.4 +/- 12.6 at 125 mmHg, p < 0.001), indicating a greater contribution of SMC activity to vessel wall stiffness at higher pressures.

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