Transient middle cerebral artery occlusion causes different structural, mechanical, and myogenic alterations in normotensive and hypertensive rats

Francesc Jiménez-Altayó, Abraham Martín, Santiago Rojas, Carles Justicia, Ana M Briones, Jesús Giraldo, Anna M Planas, Elisabet Vila
American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology 2007, 293 (1): H628-35
Transient focal cerebral ischemia in the rat alters vessel properties, and spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) show a poorer outcome after ischemia. In the present study we examined the role of hypertension on vessel properties after ischemia-reperfusion. The right middle cerebral artery (MCA) was occluded (90 min) and reperfused (24 h) in SHR (n = 12) and Wistar-Kyoto rats (WKY; n = 11). Sham-operated rats (SHR, n = 10; WKY, n = 10) were used as controls. The structural, mechanical, and myogenic properties of the MCA were assessed by pressure myography. Nuclei distribution and elastin content and organization were analyzed by confocal microscopy. Infarct volume was larger in SHR than in WKY rats. Ischemia-reperfusion induced adventitial hypertrophy associated with an increase in the total number of adventitial cells. In addition, fenestrae area and arterial distensibility increased and myogenic tone decreased in the MCA of WKY rats after ischemia-reperfusion. Hypertension per se induced hypertrophic inward remodeling. Ischemia-reperfusion decreased the cross-sectional area of the MCA in SHR, without significant changes in distensibility, despite an increase in fenestrae area. In addition, MCA myogenic properties were not altered after ischemia-reperfusion in SHR. Our results indicate that in normotensive rats, MCA develops a compensatory mechanism (i.e., enhanced distensibility and decreased myogenic tone) that counteracts the effect of ischemia-reperfusion and ensures correct cerebral irrigation. These compensatory mechanisms are lost in hypertension, thereby explaining, at least in part, the greater infarct volume observed in SHR.

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