A theoretical model for the myogenic response based on the length-tension characteristics of vascular smooth muscle

Brian E. Carlson, Timothy W. Secomb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Scopus citations


Objective: A theoretical model is developed to describe the myogenic response of resistance vessels to changes in intravascular pressure, based on a consideration of the active and passive length-tension characteristics of vascular smooth muscle (VSM). The dependence of model parameters on vessel diameter is examined. Methods: The vessel wall is represented mechanically as a nonlinear passive component in parallel with an active contractile component. The level of VSM tone is assumed to have a sigmoidal dependence on circumferential wall tension or stress. Model parameters are optimized for each of 18 independent experimental data sets previously obtained using pressure or wire myograph systems. Results: Close fits between model predictions and experimental data are found in each case. An alternative formulation in which VSM tone depends on circumferential wall stress is found also to be consistent with available data. Significant trends in model parameters as a function of diameter are found. Conclusions: The results support the hypothesis that circumferential tension or stress in the wall provides the signal for myogenic responses. The model provides a basis for simulating steady-state myogenic responses in vascular networks containing a range of vessel diameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-338
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2005



  • Arteriole
  • Mathematical model
  • Vascular regulation
  • Vascular smooth muscle tone
  • Vessel wall tension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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