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Hypertension. 1990 Jun;15(6 Pt 2):779-83.

Microvessel changes in hypertension measured by Griffonia simplicifolia I lectin.

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Department of Physiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 53226.


Commonly used methods for assessing reductions in microvascular density (rarefaction) in hypertension detect only perfused microvessels. In the present study, samples of cremaster and spinotrapezius muscles were taken from rats with chronic (4-week) reduced renal mass hypertension and normotensive sham-operated control rats, as well as from 12-week-old spontaneously hypertensive rats and their normotensive Wistar-Kyoto control strain. Mean arterial pressure was 149 +/- 8 mm Hg in the rats with reduced renal mass hypertension, 114 +/- 7 mm Hg in sham-operated rats, 177 +/- 9 mm Hg in spontaneously hypertensive rats, and 95 +/- 4 mm Hg in Wistar-Kyoto rats. Muscle samples were incubated with rhodamine-labeled Griffonia simplicifolia I lectin, which identifies both perfused and nonperfused microvessels. Microvascular density was assessed by counting intersections with a 20-microns grid. Microvessel density was significantly reduced in cremaster muscles of both spontaneously hypertensive and reduced renal mass hypertensive rats, and in the spinotrapezius muscle of spontaneously hypertensive rats, compared with their respective normotensive controls. Further studies in the reduced renal mass rats on low salt diets indicated that lectin binding was also decreased as salt intake was increased, independent of blood pressure. This change was not due to an alteration in lectin-binding affinity. These studies indicate that lectin binding can be a useful tool for assessing microvessel density that does not depend on the perfusion state of the vessels and that rarefaction due to hypertension is not evenly distributed in all vascular beds. These results also provide evidence that dietary salt intake alone can influence microvessel density, as measured by the lectin technique.

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