To define the cellular events of vascular remodeling in mice, we measured blood flow and analyzed the morphology of remodeled vessels at defined points after a flow-reducing remodeling stimulus for 3, 7, 14, and 35 days. Acute ligation of the left external carotid artery reduced blood flow in the left common carotid artery (LC) compared with sham and contralateral right common carotid arteries (RCs). In morphometric analyses, the decrease in diameter in LCs was reversible by vasodilator perfusion 3 days after ligation, whereas ligation for 7 days or greater resulted in a permanent diameter reduction. Coincident with structural remodeling at day 7 was an increase in cell death in remodeled LCs. Functionally, rings from remodeled LCs contracted to prostaglandin F(2α) and relaxed to acetylcholine in a manner identical to that of control arteries. However, remodeled LCs were hypersensitive to the nitrovasodilator sodium nitroprusside (at day 7) and exhibited a marked reduction in basal NO synthesis at 7 and 14 days after ligation. The impairment of endothelial NO synthase function was likely due to post-translational mechanisms, given that endothelial NO synthase mRNA and protein levels did not change in remodeled LCs. These data define the ontogeny of flow-triggered luminal remodeling in adult mice and suggest that endothelial dysfunction occurs during reorganization of the vessel wall.
- Endothelial NO synthase
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine