Medical College of Wisconsin
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Life and death in the microcirculation: a role for angiotensin II. Microcirculation 1998;5(2-3):101-7 PMID: 9789251


OBJECTIVE: Angiotensin II (ANGII) plays a critical role in the maintenance of the microcirculation and in the anatomical loss of microvessels (rarefaction) that occurs in low renin forms of hypertension and in animals fed a high-salt diet. Elevations in sodium intake can trigger a series of hemodynamic and hormonal responses culminating in a substantial rarefaction of small arterioles and capillaries in both normal and reduced renal mass hypertensive rats.

METHODS: Immunohistochemistry, Northern blot, and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis of microdissected blood vessels were used to localize ANGII receptors in the microcirculation. Chronic infusion of ANGII and other physiologic and pharmacologic manipulations of the reninangiotensin system in rats was combined with morphologic and mathematical analysis of the network architecture.

RESULTS: We have shown that rarefaction of the microcirculation can cause an increase in total peripheral resistance, reduced tissue perfusion, decreased oxygen delivery, and impaired organ function. Although the mechanisms by which this occurs are not well understood, a number of key observations point to a role for the renin-angiotensin system in this effect. First, ANGII infused systemically at subpressor levels, or locally into the skeletal muscle interstitium, can induce significant microvessel growth. Second, localization of ANGII receptor proteins by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting and RNA localization by RT-PCR confirm the presence of AT1 receptors, which are growth-stimulatory, and AT2 receptors, which are growth-inhibitory in the microcirculation. Third, maintenance of ANGII at normal levels during periods of hypertension or high-salt diet completely eliminates rarefaction.

CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, these results support the hypothesis that ANGII acting through AT1- and AT2-receptor mechanisms modulate vessel density during high-salt diet and hypertension.

Author List

Greene AS


Andrew S. Greene PhD Interim Vice Chair, Chief, Professor in the Biomedical Engineering department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Angiotensin II
Disease Models, Animal
Hypertension, Renal
RNA, Messenger
Receptors, Angiotensin
Renin-Angiotensin System
Sodium, Dietary

View this publication's entry at the Pubmed website PMID: 9789251
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