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Am J Physiol. 1986 Feb;250(2 Pt 1):G205-12.

Interaction of flow and resistance in maintenance of portal hypertension in a rat model.


To clarify the roles that portocollateral resistance ("backward-flow" theory) and portal flow ("forward-flow" theory) play in maintaining chronic portal hypertension, we studied, in a rat model with prehepatic portal hypertension, the hemodynamic changes that occur when portocollateral resistance is reduced and high portal venous inflow is maintained. In 30 portal-hypertensive rats the constriction around the portal vein was removed 4 days after induction of portal hypertension, 30 rats were used as portal vein-constricted controls, and 30 additional rats were subjected to a sham operation. The removal of the ligature constricting the portal vein was followed by an immediate decrease in portal pressure (from 16.3 +/- 0.8 to 9.6 +/- 0.8 mmHg, P less than 0.001). Two days after the ligature removal, hyperdynamic circulation was still evident and was characterized by a decreased splanchnic arteriolar resistance and an increased portal venous inflow. The coexistence of high portal venous inflow and normal portal pressure indicates that high portal venous inflow per se is not sufficient to produce an increase in portal pressure when it faces a low-resistance vascular bed. We conclude that portal hypertension is induced by the interaction of an abnormally high portal venous inflow and high resistance offered to the flow by the portocollateral vessels. Neither the forward-flow theory nor the backward-flow theory can be applied solely to explain the increased portal pressure.

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