Morphological and pharmacological characterization of the porcine popliteal artery: A novel model for study of lower limb arterial disease
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OBJECTIVE: This study was undertaken to characterize structural and pharmacological properties of the pig popliteal artery in order to develop a novel system for the examination of lower limb blood flow regulation in a variety of cardiovascular pathologies, such as diabetes-induced peripheral artery disease. METHODS: Popliteal arteries were isolated from streptozocin-induced diabetic pigs or age-matched saline-injected control pigs for morphological study using transmission electron microscopy and for examination of vasoreactivity to pharmacological agents using wire myography. RESULTS: Transmission electron microscopy of the porcine popliteal artery wall revealed the presence of endothelial cell-smooth muscle cell interactions (myoendothelial junctions) and smooth muscle cell-smooth muscle cell interactions, for which we have coined the term "myo-myo junctions." These myo-myo junctions were shown to feature plaques indicative of connexin expression. Further, the pig popliteal artery was highly responsive to a variety of vasoconstrictors including norepinephrine, phenylephrine, and U46619, and vasodilators including acetylcholine, adenosine 5'-[β-thio] diphosphate, and bradykinin. Finally, 2 weeks after streptozocin-induced diabetes, the normalized vasoconstriction of the pig popliteal artery to norepinephrine was unaltered compared to control. CONCLUSIONS: The pig popliteal artery displays structural and pharmacological properties that might prove useful in future studies of diabetes-associated peripheral artery disease and other lower limb cardiovascular diseases.
author list (cited authors)
Frederick, N. E., Mitchell, R., Hein, T. W., & Bagher, P.