Vascular flow reserve as a link between long-term blood pressure level and physical performance capacity in mammals

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Mean arterial pressure (MAP) is surprisingly similar across different species of mammals, and it is, in general, not known which factors determine the arterial pressure level. Mammals often have a pronounced capacity for sustained physical performance. This capacity depends on the vasculature having a flow reserve that comes into play as tissue metabolism increases. We hypothesize that microvascular properties allowing for a large vascular flow reserve is linked to the level of the arterial pressure.To study the interaction between network properties and network inlet pressure, we developed a generic and parsimonious computational model of a bifurcating microvascular network where diameter and growth of each vessel evolves in response to changes in biomechanical stresses. During a simulation, the network develops well-defined arterial and venous vessel characteristics. A change in endothelial function producing a high precapillary resistance and thus a high vascular flow reserve is associated with an increase in network inlet pressure. Assuming that network properties are independent of body mass, and that inlet pressure of the microvascular network is a proxy for arterial pressure, the study provides a conceptual explanation of why high performing animals tend to have a high MAP.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12813
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

    Research areas

  • Animals, Arterial Pressure, Hemodynamics, Microcirculation, Microvessels, Models, Cardiovascular, Vascular Resistance

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