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  • Author or Editor: S.J. Contney x
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Circumferential stretch due to increases in pressure induces vascular smooth muscle cell depolarization and contraction known as the myogenic response. The aim of this study was to determine the in vivoeffects of axial-longitudinal stretch of the rat saphenous artery (SA) on smooth muscle membrane potential (Em) and on external diameter. Consecutive elongations of the SA were carried out from resting length (L0) in 10% increments up to 140% L0while changes in membrane potential and diameter were determined in intact and de-endothelized vessels. Axial stretching resulted in a small initial depolarization at 120% of L0followed by a progressive 20 to 33% hyperpolarizaion of vascular smooth muscle between 130% and 140% of L0. At 140%, an average maximal 10.6 mV reversible hyperpolarization was measured compared to –41.2±0.49 mV Em at 100% L0. De-endothelialization completely eliminated the hyperpolarization to axial stretching and augmented the reduction of diameter beyond 120% L0. These results indicate that arteries have a mechanism to protect them from vasospasm that could otherwise occur with movements of the extremities.

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