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Angiogenesis in the hypertensive lung: response to ambient oxygen tension

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The present study further analyzes the growth and reorganization of the vessels adjacent to capillaries in the hyperoxia-adapted lung in response to a lower ambient oxygen tension. The aim of the study was to determine the source of the new smooth muscle cells known to develop in these segments on return to breathing air. To accomplish this we determined the reorganization of vessel walls by quantitative light-microscopy techniques, and vascular cell phenotype(s) by high-resolution microscopy, in the lungs of rats that breathed a high oxygen tension (87% O2 for 4 weeks), followed by weaning to a lower oxygen tension (87–20% O2 over 1 week) and return to breathing air (for 1, 2 or 4 weeks). Return to breathing air initially triggered wall growth in a subset of vessels and wall thinning in others before wall thinning predominated throughout the vessel population. Interstitial fibroblasts were identified as the source of new perivascular cells. The recruitment of these cells was accompanied by loss of elastic laminae from vessel walls. Subsequently, most perivascular cells expressed a smooth muscle phenotype and elastic laminae were restored. Arteriography demonstrated an increase in the number of patent vessels on return to air, and light- and high-resolution microscopy restitution of the capillary network. We propose that in the hyperoxia-adapted lung return to breathing air represents a relative hypoxia that triggers differential patterns of vessel and capillary growth to meet new functional demands set by the lower ambient oxygen tension.

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Jones, R., Jacobson, M. Angiogenesis in the hypertensive lung: response to ambient oxygen tension. Cell Tissue Res 300, 263–284 (2000).

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  • Lung Microvessels Capillaries Fibroblasts Perivascular cells Elastic lamina Rat (Sprague Dawley)