Abstract 1421: In Vivo Measurement of Flow-Mediated Vasodilation in Living Rats using High Resolution Ultrasound: Age-Dependent Endothelial Dysfunction
In humans, endothelial function serves as a surrogate marker for cardiovascular health and is measured as changes in arterial diameter after temporary ischemia (flow-mediated dilation; FMD). We developed an FMD-related approach to study conduit artery vasodilation in living rats, and demonstrate a reduction in FMD in older versus younger animals consistent with age-related endothelial dysfunction. Diameter and Doppler-flow measurements were obtained from the femoral artery using high-resolution ultrasound (35 MHz). We observed dose-dependent vasodilation using both endothelium-dependent and endothelium-independent pharmacologic vasodilators (acetylcholine and nitroglycerine). Flow-dependent vasodilation was observed in response to flow increase induced both by adenosine and local saline infusion. Transient hindlimb ischemia led to reactive hyperemia with sequential flow velocity increase and femoral artery dilation, the latter of which was completely abolished by NO-synthase (NOS) inhibition with L-NMMA. To demonstrate its applicability in a model of endothelial dysfunction, we show that FMD is significantly reduced in older versus younger animals. While FMD was completely NOS-dependent in younger animals, NOS-dependent mechanisms accounted for only half of the FMD in older animals, with the remainder being blocked by charybdotoxin (CTx) and apamin suggesting contribution of endothelium-derived-hyperpolarizing-factor. Using this new integrative physiologic model to reproducibly study FMD in living rats, we show that age-dependent endothelial dysfunction is accompanied by a shift in mechanisms underlying vasodilatory endothelial function.