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Hypertension. 1993 Oct;22(4):486-95.

In vitro perfusion studies of resistance artery function in genetic hypertension.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University Hospital of South Manchester, UK.


To examine the function of resistance-sized arteries in hypertension under in vitro conditions that approximate in vivo conditions as much as possible, we mounted segments of second-order mesenteric resistance arteries from spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and Wistar-Kyoto normotensive control rats aged 12 to 13 weeks in a perfusion myograph and exposed them to conditions of constant flow and pressure. The endothelial integrity was validated both functionally and histologically. Vascular sensitivity to norepinephrine was examined when the hormone was applied either intraluminally or extraluminally and before and after removal of the endothelium. Both endothelium-dependent and -independent dilatation was assessed by the intraluminal application of acetylcholine and sodium nitroprusside, respectively. Sodium nitroprusside was applied to arteries after endothelium removal. Arterial responses were measured by changes in intraluminal diameter recorded with a video camera and imaging system. Vessels from SHR demonstrated depressed endothelium-dependent relaxation but similar endothelium-independent relaxation and greater sensitivity to norepinephrine with both intraluminal and extraluminal application. Removal of the endothelium abolished the differences in sensitivity to norepinephrine between the two strains. The results demonstrate that resistance arteries from SHR when examined under in vitro perfusion display enhanced sensitivity to norepinephrine due to depressed endothelium-dependent dilatation, and the data suggest that functional modifications in the endothelium may play an important role in hypertensive vascular disease.

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