Alterations in mechanical properties of mesenteric resistance arteries in experimental portal hypertension

Department of Internal Medicine II, School of Medicine, University Hospital, Regensburg, Germany.
AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology (Impact Factor: 3.8). 09/2009; 297(4):G849-57. DOI: 10.1152/ajpgi.00084.2009
Source: PubMed


Splanchnic vasodilation is the pathophysiological hallmark in the development of the hyperdynamic circulatory syndrome in liver cirrhosis and portal hypertension. This has been attributed so far mainly to a marked vascular hyporeactivity to endogenous vasoconstrictors. However, myogenic tone and vessel stiffness have not been addressed in mesenteric arteries in liver cirrhosis. CCl(4)(-)-induced ascitic cirrhotic (LC) and age-matched control rats, portal vein-ligated (PVL) rats, and sham-operated rats were investigated. Third-order mesenteric resistance arteries were studied under no-flow conditions using a pressure myograph measuring media thickness and lumen diameter in response to incremental increases in intramural pressure, from which wall mechanics were calculated. Electron microscopy was used for investigation of wall ultrastructure, especially the fenestrae in internal elastic lamina (IEL). In PVL animals, no significant change in passive vessel strain, stress, media-to-lumen ratio, or cross-sectional area was noted. In contrast, in LC rats, vessel strain was markedly elevated compared with healthy control rats, indicating a marked reduction in vessel stiffness. In addition, the strain-stress curve was shifted to the right, and the elastic modulus in dependency on vessel stress decreased, demonstrating predominantly structure-dependent factors to be involved. The media-to-lumen quotient was not significantly altered, but cross-sectional area was highly increased in LC rats, indicating hypertrophic outward remodeling. These findings were paralleled by enlarged fenestrae in the IEL but no change in thickness of IEL or proportion of extracellular matrix or vascular smooth muscle in LC rats. We concluded that, in long-standing severe portal hypertension such as ascitic LC but not in short-term conditions such as PVL, mesenteric resistance arteries exhibit vascular remodeling and markedly less resistant mechanical properties, leading to decreased vessel stiffness accompanied by structural changes in the IEL. This may well contribute to the maintenance and severity of splanchnic arterial vasodilation in LC.

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    • "At this time we can only speculate on possible other mechanisms, like fibronectin-content [9] or the arrangement of elastin [26]. Eplerenone reduced carotid artery stiffness in aldosterone-infused salt-loaded rats [9,11] in association with differences in fibronectin, but not in collagen or elastin density. "
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    ABSTRACT: Aldosterone levels are elevated in a rat model of type 2 diabetes mellitus, the Zucker Diabetic fatty rat (ZDF). Moreover blood pressure in ZDF rats is salt-sensitive. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of the aldosterone antagonist eplerenone on structural and mechanical properties of resistance arteries of ZDF-rats on normal and high-salt diet. After the development of diabetes, ZDF animals were fed either a normal salt diet (0.28%) or a high-salt diet (5.5%) starting at an age of 15 weeks. ZDF rats on high-salt diet were randomly assigned to eplerenone (100 mg/kg per day, in food) (ZDF+S+E), hydralazine (25 mg/kg per day) (ZDF+S+H), or no treatment (ZDF+S). Rats on normal salt-diet were assigned to eplerenone (ZDF+E) or no treatment (ZDF). Normoglycemic Zucker lean rats were also divided into two groups receiving normal (ZL) or high-salt diet (ZL+S) serving as controls. Systolic blood pressure was measured by tail cuff method. The experiment was terminated at an age of 25 weeks. Mesenteric resistance arteries were studied on a pressurized myograph. Specifically, vascular hypertrophy (media-to-lumen ratio) and vascular stiffness (strain and stress) were analyzed. After pressurized fixation histological analysis of collagen and elastin content was performed. Blood pressure was significantly higher in salt-loaded ZDF compared to ZDF. Eplerenone and hydralazine prevented this rise similarily, however, significance niveau was missed. Media-to-lumen ratio of mesenteric resistance arteries was significantly increased in ZDF+S when compared to ZDF and ZL. Both, eplerenone and hydralazine prevented salt-induced vascular hypertrophy. The strain curve of arteries of salt-loaded ZDF rats was significantly lower when compared to ZL and when compared to ZDF+S+E, but was not different compared to ZDF+S+H. Eplerenone, but not hydralazine shifted the strain-stress curve to the right indicating a vascular wall composition with less resistant components. This indicates increased vascular stiffness in salt-loaded ZDF rats, which could be prevented by eplerenone but not by hydralazine. Collagen content was increased in ZL and ZDF rats on high-salt diet. Eplerenone and hydralazine prevented the increase of collagen content. There was no difference in elastin content. Eplerenone and hydralazine prevented increased media-to-lumen ratio in salt-loaded ZDF-rats, indicating a regression of vascular hypertrophy, which is likely mediated by the blood pressure lowering-effect. Eplerenone has additionally the potential to prevent increased vascular stiffness in salt-loaded ZDF-rats. This suggests an effect of the specific aldosterone antagonist on adverse vascular wall remodelling.
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic renal failure (CRF) is associated with hypertension, proteinuria, loss of myogenic constriction (MC) of mesenteric arteries and increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) under experimental conditions. Previous results showed that ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme activity) inhibitor therapy is effective in slowing down the progression of disease. Therefore, we wanted to study whether the inverse AT(1) (angiotensin II type 1) receptor agonist, losartan (LOS) was effective in preventing loss of MC in a rat model of CRF and whether acute ROS scavengers could improve MC. Rats underwent 5/6 nephrectomy (5/6 Nx) and were treated with vehicle or LOS (20 mg/kg/day; 5/6 Nx + LOS) for 12 weeks. Thereafter, the MC of the mesenteric arteries were measured in the presence and/or absence of tempol and catalase. Systolic blood pressure and proteinuria were measured weekly. Systolic blood pressure and proteinuria in the 5/6 Nx + LOS group were significantly lower than in the 5/6 Nx group. Moreover, the MC of 5/6 Nx + LOS arteries was significantly increased compared with the untreated 5/6 Nx group (maximum MC, 32.3 ± 6.9 vs 8.9 ± 3.8% (p < 0.01)). Tempol + catalase significantly increased the MC in the 5/6 Nx group, but not in the 5/6 Nx + LOS group (increase in MC, 59.7 ± 13.0 (p < 0.05) vs. 17.0 ± 15.1%). These results support the roles of the RAAS (renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system) and ROS in the vascular dysfunction of systemic vessels in CRF.
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