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Clin Physiol Funct Imaging. 2009 Sep;29(5):353-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-097X.2009.00875.x. Epub 2009 May 5.

Effects of adrenaline on longitudinal arterial wall movements and resulting intramural shear strain: a first report.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine Unit, Malmö University Hospital, Malmö SE-205 02, Sweden.


Using ultrasound we recently demonstrated that in central elastic arteries as well as in large muscular arteries in humans there is a distinct longitudinal displacement of the arterial wall during the cardiac cycle. Further, for the first time, we also demonstrated that the inner parts of the vessel wall, the intima-media complex, in these vessels exhibit a larger longitudinal displacement than the outer part of the vessel wall, the adventitial region, introducing the presence of substantial shear strain, and thus shear stress within the vessel wall. The role of these unexplored phenomena is unknown. Here, in a first study on the longitudinal movements of the porcine common carotid artery, we show that administration of adrenaline (epinephrine) might have pronounced effects on the longitudinal displacement of the intima-media complex. In this experiment the longitudinal displacement of the intima-media complex increased >200% at the highest blood pressure levels as compared to baseline. Further, shear strain within the wall increased >250%; the longitudinal displacement of the adventitial region being smaller than that of the intima-media complex. Thus, our results indicate that adrenaline can markedly influence the longitudinal displacement of the arterial wall and the resulting shear strain, and thus shear stress, within the arterial wall. This opens up a new field within cardiovascular research, revealing a previously unknown mechanism in the circulatory system. Further studies on larger materials are needed to confirm our findings and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms and the physiological, pathophysiological and clinical implications of this phenomenon.

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