Structure and mechanics of growing arterial microvessels from hypertrophied urinary bladder in the rat

P J Boels, Anders Arner, Ulf Malmqvist, Bengt Uvelius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rat bladder hypertrophy, induced by a partial ligation of the urethra, was used to study the accompanying changes of microvascular smooth muscle mechanics, pharmacology and morphology. A segment of a microarterial vessel to the bladder was taken from a defined anatomical location and studied in a wire myograph in vitro at the length for maximal isometric force development (Lmax). After 10 days of ligation, bladder hypertrophy resulted in a microvascular growth response compared to non-operated controls which was characterized by (i) an increase of the calculated diameter at Lmax from 134 +/- 5 microns to 222 +/- 19 microns; (ii) an increase of the media thickness from 22.4 +/- 1.9 microns to 32.2 +2- 3.0 microns; (iii) an increase of the active tension from 1.42 +/- 0.28 mN/mm to 3.06 +/- 0.33 mN/mm; (iv) no change of the wall/lumen ratio (from 0.83 +/- 0.10 to 0.79 +/- 0.15). Normalized length/force relations (active, passive and total) did not differ significantly between microarteries from control and hypertrophic bladders. Microvascular smooth muscle growth was also associated with a decreased sensitivity to K(+)-induced depolarization and an increased sensitivity to alpha 1-adrenergic stimulation. No differences were noted regarding the Ca2+ sensitivity of force during K(+)-induced depolarization. The results suggest that microvascular growth (1) is immediately and positively influenced by the organ growth; (2) results in a functional resetting of the microvascular segments towards larger diameters without gross morphological or mechanical alterations; and (3) is accompanied by pharmacological alterations of the smooth muscle reactivity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-515
JournalPflügers Archiv
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1994

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Physiology


  • Phenylephrine
  • K+ Sensitivity
  • Ca2+ Sensitivity
  • Length/force relation
  • Smooth muscle


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