Influence of constriction, wall tension, smooth muscle activation and cellular deformation on rat resistance artery vasodilator reactivity.
ABSTRACT This study investigated how vasoconstriction (tone), wall tension, smooth muscle activation, and vascular wall deformation influence resistance artery vasodilator reactivity. Resistance arteries, from two different regional circulations (splanchnic, uterine) and from pregnant and non-pregnant rats, were cannulated and pressurized, or mounted on a wire myograph under isometric conditions prior to being exposed to both endothelium-dependent (acetylcholine, ACh) and -independent (sodium nitroprusside, SNP) vasodilator agonists. A consistent pattern of reduced vasodilator sensitivity was noted as a function of extent of preconstriction for both agonists noted in pressurized arteries. A similar pattern regarding activation was noted in wire-mounted arteries in response to SNP but not ACh. Wall tension proved to be a major determinant of vascular smooth muscle vasodilator reactivity and its normalization reversed this pattern, as more constricted vessels were more sensitive to ACh relaxation without any change in SNP sensitivity, suggesting that endothelial deformation secondary to vasoconstriction augments its vasodilator output. To our knowledge, this is the first study to dissect out the complex interplay between biophysical forces impinging on VSM (pressure, wall tension), the ambient level of tone (vasoconstriction, smooth muscle cell activation), and consequences of cellular (particularly endothelial) deformation secondary to constriction in determining resistance artery vasodilatory reactivity.