Arterial Vasodilation and Vascular Connective Tissue Changes in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats
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Arterial hypertrophy in response to hypertension includes increases in the connective tissue proteins elastin and collagen. Regression of arterial hypertrophy depends not only on blood pressure normalization but also on the specific antihypertensive treatment. Consequently, each drug class may exert an influence on connective tissue proteins. We evaluated the arterial connective tissue response of 16-week-old spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs) to treatment with minoxidil, 120 mg/L, drinking water for 10 weeks. Despite a decrease in blood pressure, minoxidil had no effect on arterial weight or collagen content but increased elastin content in the abdominal aorta, renal, and superior mesenteric arteries. The increase in elastin content in the abdominal aorta and superior mesenteric artery was accompanied by a decrease in tissue elastase activity. Thus the minoxidil-induced increase in arterial elastin content may be related to a direct effect of the drug to decrease elastase activity in these tissues.
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