Remodeling in the microcirculation of rat skeletal muscle during chronic ischemia

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OBJECTIVE: To establish the time course and extent of remodeling of terminal microcirculation in ischemic rat skeletal muscle during prolonged low flow that does not lead to inflammation. METHODS: One common iliac artery was ligated via laparotomy in adult Sprague-Dawley rats and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles removed at intervals (1, 2, and 5 weeks) postsurgery. Serial frozen EDL sections were stained to show capillaries (alkaline phosphatase), cell proliferation (antibody to proliferating cell nuclear antigen [PCNA]), terminal microvessels (antibodies to alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) or endothelial nitric oxide synthase [eNOS]), and macrophages (antibodies to infiltrating and resident macrophages). Total muscle eNOS protein was quantified by standard Western blotting techniques. RESULTS: Capillary proliferation was very limited in ischemic EDLs, with a modest 12% increase in the capillary/fiber ratio after 5 weeks, preceded at 2 weeks by increased numbers of PCNA-positive nuclei at capillary sites. There was no muscle necrosis or evidence of inflammation, based on macrophage staining. The number of terminal microvessels that were positive for alpha-SMA and


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-191
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2003


  • capillaries, muscle ischemia, endothelial nitric oxide synthase, arterioles, alpha-smooth muscle actin