In hypertension, small arteries in a variety of vascular beds undergo structural changes that increase resistance. To assess whether there are differential structural changes in the penis that accompany hypertension, we began with determining structurally based vascular resistance properties in penile and hindlimb vascular beds of adult spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. In anesthetized SHR, the penile and hindlimb vasculature were isolated and perfused, maximum dilation was induced, and a flow-pressure assessment and α1-adrenoceptor agonist concentration-response curves were generated. Both the baseline and maximum constrictor responses were similar in the two beds of each strain, and overall the maximum structurally-based vascular resistance in SHR was higher than in SD rats. Our data suggests that the penile vasculature is not protected from the structural changes that take place in the other vascular beds in hypertension. There does not appear to be an underlying functional control mechanism that protects the penile vasculature from structural changes that may have a negative impact on penile blood flow.
- Erectile dysfunction
- Penile vasculature
- Spontaneously hypertensive rats
- Structural change
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