Biomechanical adaptation of porcine carotid vascular smooth muscle to hypo and hypertension in vitro.
Previous research in arterial remodeling in response to changes in blood pressure seldom included both hyper- and hypotension. To compare the effects of low and high pressure on arterial remodeling and vascular smooth muscle tone and performance, we have utilized an in vitro model. Porcine carotid arteries were cultured for 3 days at 30 and 170mmHg and compared to controls cultured at 100mmHg for 1 and 3 days. On the first and last day of culture, pressure-diameter and pressure-wall thickness curves were measured under normal smooth muscle tone using a high-resolution ultrasonic device. Last-day experiments included measurements where vascular smooth muscle was contracted or totally relaxed. From the data wall cross-sectional area, Hudetz elastic modulus and a contraction index related to the diameter reduction under normal smooth muscle tone were calculated. We found that although wall cross-sectional area (indicating wall mass) did not change much, Hudetz elastic modulus was significantly reduced in the 3-day hypotension group. Inspection of the wall contraction index suggests that this is due to a reduction in the vascular smooth muscle tone. Further, the peak of contraction index was found to be shifted to higher pressures in the 3-day 170mmHg group. We conclude that vascular smooth muscle performance adapts to both hypo- and hypertension at short time scales and can alter the biomechanics of the vascular wall in vitro.