Research Papers: Pathology:

Characterization of pressure-mediated vascular tone in resistance arteries from bile duct-ligated rats

Ravirajsinh N. Jadeja, Menaka C. Thounaojam and Sandeep Khurana _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:30706-30722. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.15409

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Ravirajsinh N. Jadeja1, Menaka C. Thounaojam2 and Sandeep Khurana1

1 Digestive Health Center, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA, USA

2 Department of Biochemistry and Cancer Biology, School of Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN, USA

Correspondence to:

Sandeep Khurana, email:

Keywords: cirrhosis, portal hypertension, myogenic tone, vascular dysfunction, mesenteric arteries, Pathology Section

Received: August 19, 2016 Accepted: February 01, 2017 Published: February 16, 2017


In cirrhosis, changes in pressure-mediated vascular tone, a key determinant of systemic vascular resistance (SVR), are unknown. To address this gap in knowledge, we assessed ex vivo dynamics of pressurized mesenteric resistance arteries (diameter ~ 260 μm) from bile duct-ligated (BDL) and sham-operated (SHAM) rats and determined the underlying mechanisms. At isobaric intraluminal pressure (70 mmHg) as well as with step-wise increase in pressure (10-110 mmHg), arteries from SHAM-rats constricted more than BDL-rats, and had reduced luminal area. In both groups, incubation with LNAME (a NOS inhibitor) had no effect on pressure-mediated tone, and expression of NOS isoforms were similar. TEA, which enhances Ca2+ influx, augmented arterial tone only in SHAM-rats, with minimal effect in those from BDL-rats that was associated with reduced expression of Ca2+ channel TRPC6. In permeabilized arteries, high-dose Ca2+ and γGTP enhanced the vascular tone, which remained lower in BDL-rats that was associated with reduced ROCK2 and pMLC expression. Further, compared to SHAM-rats, in BDL-rats, arteries had reduced collagen expression which was associated with increased expression and activity of MMP-9. BDL-rats also had increased plasma reactive oxygen species (ROS). In vascular smooth muscle cells in vitro, peroxynitrite enhanced MMP-9 activity and reduced ROCK2 expression. These data provide evidence that in cirrhosis, pressure-mediated tone is reduced in resistance arteries, and suggest that circulating ROS play a role in reducing Ca2+ sensitivity and enhancing elasticity to induce arterial adaptations. These findings provide insights into mechanisms underlying attenuated SVR in cirrhosis.

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