Evaluation of Vascular Control Mechanisms Utilizing Video Microscopy of Isolated Resistance Arteries of Rats
Journal of Visualized Experiments
This protocol describes the use of in vitro television microscopy to evaluate vascular function in isolated cerebral resistance arteries (and other vessels), and describes techniques for evaluating tissue perfusion using Laser Doppler Flowmetry (LDF) and microvessel density utilizing fluorescently labeled Griffonia simplicifolia (GS1) lectin. Current methods for studying isolated resistance arteries at transmural pressures encountered in vivo and in the absence of parenchymal cell influences provide a critical link between in vivo studies and information gained from molecular reductionist approaches that provide limited insight into integrative responses at the whole animal level. LDF and techniques to selectively identify arterioles and capillaries with fluorescently-labeled GS1 lectin provide practical solutions to enable investigators to extend the knowledge gained from studies of isolated resistance arteries. This paper describes the application of these techniques to gain fundamental knowledge of vascular physiology and pathology in the rat as a general experimental model, and in a variety of specialized genetically engineered "designer" rat strains that can provide important insight into the influence of specific genes on important vascular phenotypes. Utilizing these valuable experimental approaches in rat strains developed by selective breeding strategies and new technologies for producing gene knockout models in the rat, will expand the rigor of scientific premises developed in knockout mouse models and extend that knowledge to a more relevant animal model, with a well understood physiological background and suitability for physiological studies because of its larger size.