The consequences of aortic calcium overload following vitamin D3 plus nicotine treatment in young rats

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Treatment of young rats with vitamin D3 plus nicotine has been proposed as a model of cardiovascular calcium overload. This treatment produced a 20–35-fold increase in the calcium content of the aorta, a compliance vessel, and this increase was accompanied by a 1.6-fold elevation of pulse pressure. In aortic rings, the maximal inhibition by the endothelium-dependent vasodilator, carbachol, of vasoconstriction induced by noradrenaline decreased from 90% in controls to 61% in treated animals. There were significant correlations between aortic calcium content and pulse pressure and aortic calcium content and carbachol-induced relaxation. In conclusion. the vitamin D3 plus nicotine model may be useful for the study of the role of calcium overload in decreased arterial compliance coupled with endothelial injury.

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