Pial Collateral Reactivity During Hypertension and Aging: Understanding the Function of Collaterals for Stroke Therapy

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Background and Purpose—

We investigated vasoactive properties of leptomeningeal arterioles (LMAs) under normotensive conditions and during hypertension and aging that are known to have poor collateral flow and little salvageable tissue.


LMAs, identified as distal anastomotic arterioles connecting middle and anterior cerebral arteries, were studied isolated and pressurized from young (18 weeks) or aged (48 weeks) normotensive Wistar Kyoto (WKY18, n=14; WKY48, n=6) rats and spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR18, n=16; SHR48, n=6). Myogenic tone and vasoactive responses to pressure as well as endothelial function and ion channel activity were measured.


LMAs from WKY18 had little myogenic tone at 40 mm Hg (8±3%) that increased in aged WKY48 (30±6%). However, LMAs from both WKY groups dilated to increased pressure and demonstrated little myogenic reactivity, a response that would be conducive to collateral flow. In contrast, LMAs from both SHR18 and SHR48 displayed considerable myogenic tone (56±8% and 43±7%; P<0.01 versus WKY) and constricted to increased pressure. LMAs from both WKY and SHR groups had similar basal endothelial nitric oxide and IK channel activity that opposed tone. However, dilation to sodium nitroprusside, diltiazem and 15 mmol/L KCl was impaired in LMAs from SHR18.


This study shows for the first time that LMAs from young and aged SHR are vasoconstricted and have impaired vasodilatory responses that may contribute to greater perfusion deficit and little penumbral tissue. These results also suggest that therapeutic opening of pial collaterals is possible during middle cerebral artery occlusion to create penumbral tissue and prevent infarct expansion.

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