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Relationship between the sympathetic nervous system and vascular smooth muscle: a morphometric study of adult and juvenile spontaneously hypertensive rat/Wistar-Kyoto rat caudal artery



Relationship between the sympathetic nervous system and vascular smooth muscle: a morphometric study of adult and juvenile spontaneously hypertensive rat/Wistar-Kyoto rat caudal artery



Heart and Vessels 5(3): 129-139



The relationship between the sympathetic nervous system and vascular smooth muscle has been assessed in adult and juvenile spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and compared with age-matched Wistar-Kyoto rats (WKY) using ultrastructural and light microscopic morphometric analysis of the caudal artery. The absolute volume of smooth muscle in the caudal artery of adult SHR (14-19) months was 169% greater than that in WKY vessels. As well, the axonal volume was 89% greater than that in the WKY. There was also a 51% increase in the number of vesicles per volume of varicosity in SHR compared to WKY. At 3 weeks of age the volume of both smooth muscle and axons within the caudal artery of SHR and WKY was not significantly different. However, there was a significantly greater number of vesicles (25%) per unit volume of varicosity in the SHR compared to the WKY. Thus, in the caudal artery there appears to be a relationship between smooth muscle cell volume and axonal volume. An increase in arterial smooth muscle volume (whether it be due to growth or hypertrophy) is accompanied by an increase in axonal volume, or vice versa. The significant increase in the number of vesicles per unit volume of varicosity in the SHR, compared to the WKY reported here, is consistent with other published data indicating an increased availability or turnover of transmitter in these animals. Since the blood pressures of the SHR and WKY are similar at 3 weeks, the apparent increase in sympathetic nerve activity observed suggests that this may be an initiating factor in the development of high blood pressure in SHR.

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Accession: 041223041

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PMID: 2361932

DOI: 10.1007/bf02059907


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