Maximum shortening velocity of lymphatic muscle approaches that of striated muscle
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Lymphatic muscle (LM) is widely considered to be a type of vascular smooth muscle, even though LM cells uniquely express contractile proteins from both smooth muscle and cardiac muscle. We tested the hypothesis that LM exhibits an unloaded maximum shortening velocity (Vmax) intermediate between that of smooth muscle and cardiac muscle. Single lymphatic vessels were dissected from the rat mesentery, mounted in a servo-controlled wire myograph, and subjected to isotonic quick release protocols during spontaneous or agonist-evoked contractions. After maximal activation, isotonic quick releases were performed at both the peak and plateau phases of contraction. Vmax was 0.48 ± 0.04 lengths (L)/s at the peak: 2.3 times higher than that of mesenteric arteries and 11.4 times higher than mesenteric veins. In cannulated, pressurized lymphatic vessels, shortening velocity was determined from the maximal rate of constriction [rate of change in internal diameter (-dD/dt)] during spontaneous contractions at optimal preload and minimal afterload; peak -dD/dt exceeded that obtained during any of the isotonic quick release protocols (2.14 ± 0.30 L/s). Peak -dD/dt declined with pressure elevation or activation using substance P. Thus, isotonic methods yielded Vmax values for LM in the mid to high end (0.48 L/s) of those the recorded for phasic smooth muscle (0.05-0.5 L/s), whereas isobaric measurements yielded values (>2.0 L/s) that overlapped the midrange of values for cardiac muscle (0.6-3.3 L/s). Our results challenge the dogma that LM is classical vascular smooth muscle, and its unusually high Vmax is consistent with the expression of cardiac muscle contractile proteins in the lymphatic vessel wall.
author list (cited authors)
Zhang, R., Taucer, A. I., Gashev, A. A., Muthuchamy, M., Zawieja, D. C., & Davis, M. J.