Influence of hypertension on aortic atherosclerosis in the Watanabe rabbit.
The effects of one-kidney, one clip Goldblatt hypertension on aortic atherosclerosis have been studied in the Watanabe heritable hyperlipidemic (WHHL) rabbit. Renovascular surgery was performed on WHHL rabbits at 3 months of age, and the rabbits were followed for periods of 3-6 months. Aortic atherosclerosis was assessed by measurement of intimal surface involvement with atherosclerotic lesions, determination of aortic free and ester cholesterol content, and microscopic examination. Systolic blood pressure increased by approximately 40-60 mm Hg in the renovascular surgical group as compared with the sham-operated group, but body weight, heart rate, serum cholesterol, and serum triglyceride were unaffected. Aortic atherosclerosis was increased in the hypertensive rabbits, even after 2-3 months of hypertension. At 3 months after renovascular surgery, the aortic surface area covered by atherosclerotic disease averaged 77 +/- 4.4% in hypertensive as compared with 16 +/- 3.3 in control rabbits. At 6 months after surgery, the values were 62 +/- 8.2% and 30 +/- 5.3% in the hypertensive and control rabbits, respectively. The differences in surface involvement and cholesterol content as a result of hypertension were particularly prominent in the descending thoracic aorta. Atherosclerotic lesions in the descending thoracic and abdominal aortic regions of normotensive WHHL rabbits were localized primarily to the ostia of branch vessels, but in the hypertensive rabbits, the involvement was typically very diffuse. No major differences in the nature of atherosclerotic lesions of comparable size were apparent by light microscopy. The results indicate that hypertension accelerates atherogenesis in the WHHL rabbit and suggest that this model may be valuable for studying the mechanisms by which such acceleration is induced.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association