Arteriolar dysfunction is restored in ishaemic muscles by chronic electrical stimulation

CJ Kelsall, Margaret Brown, Joyce Kent, M Kloehn, Olga Hudlicka

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Chronic intermittent electrical stimulation (15 min on, 85 min off, seven times per day) eliminated endothelial dysfunction of pre-capillary arterioles in ischaemic rat ankle flexor muscles. Responses to acetylcholine were restored from constriction to dilation, and the reduced dilation to bradykinin was corrected by 1 week of stimulation. Administration of the NOS inhibitor N-omega-nitro-Larginine for 1 week impaired arteriolar reactivity in a similar way to ischaemia, and dilator function was likewise restored by chronic stimulation. This suggests that nitric oxide production in the microcirculation is depressed by chronic ischaemia and that chronic electrical stimulation can specifically reverse this deficit. Stimulation applied to ischaemic muscles for 2 weeks also increased the numbers of microvessels immunostained for alpha-smooth muscle actin and the numbers of eNOS-positive microvessels and capillaries. These findings help to elucidate the mechanism of the beneficial effect of exercise in the treatment of peripheral vascular diseases by showing that muscle activity can improve both function and structural capacity of the microvasculature. Copyright (C) 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-251
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Vascular Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004


  • arterial ligation
  • capillaries
  • nitric oxide synthase inhibition
  • arterioles
  • skeletal muscle


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