Pressure-induced growth and remodeling of arteries in a porcine aortic coarctation model
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Hypertension is a risk factor for many cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and stroke. It is therefore important to understand the effect of hypertension on temporal growth and remodeling of arteries. In this study, experimental hypertension was induced in the mini-pig by aortic coarctation. Basilar arteries and aortas were collected for analysis over an eight week period of hypertension with specimens from normotensive animals serving as controls. Changes in mechanical properties of the basilar artery were evaluated by in vitro pressure-diameter tests on intact cylindrical segments at their in situ length. The basilar arteries from hypertensive animals became less distensible, reflecting increases in both structural and material stiffness, compared to their normotensive counterparts. The circumferential stress rapidly returned toward its homeostatic value by increasing the wall thickness within two weeks. Immunohistochemistry, which is capable of illustrating the localization and distribution of protein expression, was performed to examine changes in wall constituents in the aorta. The increased medial thickness observed in hypertensive pigs compared to normotensive pigs was due to hyperplasia of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins, which were accompanied by the phenotypic modulation of SMCs. The increased interlamellar thickness, collagen fibers, and the thickness of elastic lamina found in the inner media of hypertensive animal may be associated with the gradient of stress decreasing into the outer media. SMC proliferation, if any, was found evenly distributed across the media, however. In cases showing increased proliferation and matrix protein synthesis, the SMC contractile markers were down-regulated whereas the SMC synthetic markers were up-regulated. While the aortic intima appeared normal in the normotensive animals, neointima formation, which may predispose the vessel to atheroma formation, was found in the hypertensive animals. Immunohistochemistry of Hsp47 and procollagen revealed that the endothelial cells (ECs) may produce collagen, specifically type I collagen in response to hypertension and contribute to the thickened intima. In addition, lectin staining for ECs markers and immunostaining for eNOS suggested that endothelial cells may transdifferentiate into intimal SMCs. These findings suggested an alternative role that ECs may play in hypertension-induced atherogenesis.
growth and remodeling
Hu, Jin-Jia (2005). Pressure-induced growth and remodeling of arteries in a porcine aortic coarctation model. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from