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Exp Physiol. 1994 Sep;79(5):635-45.

The relationship between blood flow and diameter in the iliac artery of the anaesthetized dog: the role of endothelium-derived relaxing factor and shear stress.

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Research Department, Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, Alderley Park, Macclesfield, Cheshire.


The quantitative relationship between, increase in blood flow and arterial diameter was determined in an anaesthetized dog preparation (pentobarbitone, induction 30 mg kg-1 i.v., maintenance 3 mg kg-1 i.v. every 30 min). Changes in external iliac artery diameter were measured using piezoelectric ultrasound transducers capable of measuring diameters within the range of 2-20 mm with a resolution of +/- 0.005 mm. The diameter of the artery was measured at two sites, at one of which the endothelium was damaged using a balloon angioplasty catheter. Increases in blood flow were brought about by a combination of vasodilatation and cardiac stimulation (intra-arterial administration of acetylcholine, downstream to the sites of diameter measurement, and electrical stimulation of the left ansa subclavia), thereby preventing large changes in blood pressure. The effects of both transient and maintained increases in blood flow on mean arterial diameter in the section of artery with intact endothelium were measured. Transient increases in mean flow from 147 +/- 0.21 to 611 +/- 80.0 ml min-1 caused increases in diameter of 0.12 +/- 0.02 mm from a control of 5.42 +/- 0.19 mm. The mean delay between maximum flow and maximum diameter was 24.51 +/- 1.1 s and the half-time for the return to control diameter was 82.0 +/- 9.6 s, compared with 12.1 +/- 1.5 s for the return to control flow. Maintained (3-4 min) increases in mean blood flow (from 104.7 +/- 15.1 to 694.7 +/- 135.1 ml min-1) produced larger increases in diameter of 0.48 +/- 0.30 mm from a control diameter of 4.89 +/- 0.12 mm. These changes in diameter were abolished by N omega-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME. 10-100 mg kg-1 i.v.). In the section of artery with damaged endothelium, changes in diameter were relatively small and associated with small changes in blood pressure. This effect of a nearly 7-fold increase in flow on arterial diameter is dependent upon the integrity of the endothelium and the release of endothelium-derived relaxing factor and causes a 29% reduction in calculated boundary wall shear stress.

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