Ultrastructure of hypertensive rat aorta. Increased basement membrane-like material.
To determine the effect of elevated blood pressure on the ultrastructure of rat aorta, hypertension (average mean pressure 163 +/- 17 mm Hg) was produced by suprarenal aortic coarctation. After 3 weeks, the subendothelium of the hypertensive thoracic aorta showed significantly increased volume measurements for mononuclear leukocytes and basement membrane-like material compared with the sham-operated control group. Focal areas of rarefaction of the subendothelial extracellular material were associated with the nearby presence of mononuclear leukocytes. None of these alterations were found in the normotensive abdominal aorta. The tunica media of hypertensive thoracic aorta also contained significantly increased basement membrane-like material. This new finding in an animal hypertension model is the direct result of the quantitative morphological approach employed in this study. In some rats, the partially constricting aortic ligature compromised the right renal artery leading to ischemic atrophy of the right kidney and hyperreninemia in addition to hypertension. In this group, excluded from the previous analysis and evaluated separately, subendothelial thickening and accumulation of basement membrane-like material in the thoracic aorta were greatly increased compared with the control group and other hypertensive rats. This result could not be attributed to an effect of blood pressure alone and might have been caused in part by humoral factors. Basement membrane accumulation appears to be an important early response of the arterial wall to hypertension or other factors in this rat model.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association