Does chronic experimental head-down tilt alter intramural innervation density of limb blood vessels?

M. Lóránt, G. Raffai, G. Nádasy, E. Fehér, E. Monos

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Earlier, substantial increases in the intramural sympathetic innervation density of rat hind-limb blood vessels were found after 2 weeks of experimental orthostasis with tubular 45° head-up tilt cages. In the present study, we presumed that chronic head-down tilting induces opposite changes in the innervation density. Tilted rats were kept 45° head-down in long tubular cages for either 2 or 4 weeks (HDT2, HDT4), and the control animals were maintained in horizontal tilt cages for the same period (HOR2, HOR4). Segments of the saphenous and brachial veins and arteries were used for quantitative electron microscopic examinations. Intramural innervation density was defined by nerve terminal density (NTD) and synaptic microvesicle count (SVC) within the vascular adventitia. Neither HDT2 nor HDT4 resulted in a decrease of NTD or SVC of the saphenous and brachial veins or arteries; instead, a tendency to increase was observed in some cases. Thus, in contrast to the large increases we found earlier in hind-limb vascular innervation density after 2 weeks of head-up tilting, head-down tilting of the same duration - or even twice as long - did not decrease the adventitial innervation density in our model. We assume that the quasi-free locomotor exercise the tilted animals in the long tubular cages were allowed may counteract a possible suppressive effect of chronic head-down tilt on hind-limb vascular innervation density.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-134
Number of pages8
JournalJapanese Journal of Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2005



  • Brachial vein
  • Head-down tilt
  • Saphenous artery
  • Saphenous vein
  • Vascular innervation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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