Assessment of endothelial function of large, medium, and small vessels: a unified myograph

  • Lu X
  • Kassab G
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Endothelial dysfunction precedes the development of morphological atherosclerotic changes and can also contribute to lesion development in cardiovascular diseases. Currently, there is a lack of a single method to determine endothelial function of the entire range of vessel dimensions from aorta to arterioles. Here we assessed endothelial function of a large range of size arteries using a unified isovolumic myograph method. The method maintains a constant volume of fluid in the lumen of the vessel during contraction and relaxation, which are characterized by an increase and a decrease of pressure, respectively. Segments of six aortas, six common femoral arteries, and six mesenteric arteries from rats; six carotid arteries from mice; and six coronary and carotid arteries from pigs were used. The endothelium-dependent dose-response vasorelaxation was determined with endothelium-dependent vasodilators while arterial preconstriction was induced with vasoconstrictors at a submaximal dose. The circumferential midtension during vascular reactivity varied from 43.1 ± 7.9 to 2.59 ± 0.46 mN/mm (from large to small arteries), whereas the circumferential midstress showed a much smaller variation from 217 ± 23.5 to 123 ± 15.3 kPa (in the same range of vessels). We also found that overinflation and axial overelongation compromised endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation to underscore the significance of vessel preload. In conclusion, an isovolumic myograph was used to unify arterial vasoreactivity from large to small arteries and shows the uniformity of wall stress and %tension throughout the range of vessel sizes.

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  • Xiao Lu

  • Ghassan S Kassab

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