Malmqvist, Ulf,Lunds universitet, Lund University, Medicinska fakulteten, Faculty of Medicine, Institutionen för laboratoriemedicin, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Avdelningen för klinisk kemi och farmakologi, Division of Clinical Chemistry and Pharmacology
Contractile properties during development of hypertrophy of the smooth muscle in the rat portal vein
Structural and mechanical alterations during hypertrophy of the rat portal vein were investigated. Growth of the vessel was induced by a partial ligature of the vessel causing an increased transmural pressure. Vessel segments from animals kept with ligature for 1, 3, 5 and 7 days, were compared with vessels from sham-operated animals. Maximal active force and vessel cross-sectional area increased with time in the ligated group. On day 7, force and cross-sectional area at the optimal length, were markedly increased in the ligated group (21.1 +/- 1.0 mN, 0.55 +/- 0.04 mm2, n = 9) compared with the control vessels (11.7 +/- 1.0 mN, 0.30 +/- 0.02 mm2, n = 7). Light and electron microscopy of preparations fixed at optimal length showed that the amount of smooth muscle and the cross-sectional area of cell profiles were almost doubled in the ligated group on day 7, consistent with hypertrophy of the smooth muscle. The force per smooth muscle cell area was similar in the two groups (ligated: 132 +/- 15; control: 145 +/- 16 mN mm-2, n = 4-5). The maximal shortening velocity was significantly lower in the hypertrophied group (ligated: 0.28 +/- 0.02; control: 0.41 +/- 0.01 optimal length s-1, n = 6). In chemically skinned preparations, activated by maximal thiophosphorylation of the myosin light chains, force was higher in the ligated group compared to the controls but no difference in maximal shortening velocity was observed. In conclusion, the increased transmural pressure is associated with a rapid increase in the amount of smooth muscle in the portal vein. The mechanical data show that after 7 days the force generating ability of the contractile system has increased in proportion to the smooth muscle cell mass. The unaltered maximal shortening velocity in the skinned hypertrophied preparations suggests that the kinetic properties of the maximally activated contractile system are unaltered. The decreased maximal shortening velocity in the intact hypertrophied preparations may reflect alterations in the excitation-contraction coupling.