Collagen metabolism and reversal of aortic medial hypertrophy in spontaneously hypertensive rats treated with methyldopa.
Collagen synthesis, content, and concentration were determined in the hypertrophied intima media of thoracic aortas from 10-, 15-, and 20-week-old spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). Although the rates of aortic collagen synthesis declined with age, the dry weight of the intima media and the total collagen content increased proportionally. Collagen concentration thus remained unchanged. Methyldopa was administered orally to SHR when they were 12 to 15 weeks of age, when their body weight were identical to the untreated group. Blood pressure and the degree of aortic medial hypertrophy, judged by medial dry weight per kilogram body weight, were significantly lower compared with untreated SHR. Collagen synthesis was likewise decreased to a mean rate not significantly higher than age-matched normotensive Wistar-Kyoto controls. This reduction in collagen synthesis, however, was not sufficient to decrease measurably the total collagen content of the aortas compared with untreated SHR. Since medial dry weights were lower in the treated rats, collagen concentration in aortas from SHR given methyldopa for 3 weeks was actually increased. The increase in collagen concentration also suggests that medial hypertrophy was reversed.
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