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Circ Res. 1987 Aug;61(2):181-6.

Evidence for increased media thickness, increased neuronal amine uptake, and depressed excitation--contraction coupling in isolated resistance vessels from essential hypertensives.


The functional and morphologic characteristics of isolated subcutaneous resistance vessels (about 170 micron i.d.) from 15 untreated subjects with essential hypertension and 15 matched controls were examined. The vessels from the hypertensives had a 29% increase in the media-thickness-to-lumen-diameter ratio. The maximal force development to noradrenaline (NA) expressed as active pressure (an estimate of the pressure the vessels could have contracted against in vivo) was 30% higher in vessels from the hypertensives, while active media stress (force per square unit of smooth muscle) and sensitivity to NA was not significantly different. Increased active pressure, as well as unaltered active media stress and sensitivity, was seen for vasopressin, serotonin, angiotensin II, and K+. There was, however, an enhanced leftward shift of the NA sensitivity with cocaine (an inhibitor of the neuronal amine pump) in vessels from the hypertensives [pD2(+cocaine) and pD2(-cocaine) were 0.185 +/- 0.53) and 0.040 +/- 0.044, hypertensives and normotensives, respectively, p less than 0.05] suggesting an abnormality of presynaptic function in essential hypertension. Furthermore, the calcium sensitivity was depressed (pD2 was 4.197 +/- 0.050 and 4.381 +/- 0.068, hypertensives and normotensives, respectively, p less than 0.05), and the rate of relaxation was faster (p less than 0.05) in vessels from hypertensives, suggesting that excitation-contraction coupling might be depressed. The results suggest that the increased pressor response in essential hypertension can, to a large extent, be explained by altered vascular structure, while smooth muscle function is either unchanged or possibly depressed.

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