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Wendy Leskova, Ravdeep Warar, Norman R. Harris; Altered Retinal Hemodynamics and Mean Circulation Time in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(10):12. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.61.10.12.
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Although it is known that the retinal arteriolar vasculature is constricted in hypertension, the details of retinal hemodynamics and perfusion of the retinal circulation have yet to be adequately characterized.
Male and female spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) controls were anesthetized before measurements of mean arterial blood pressure and preparation for intravital microscopy of the retinal microcirculation. Retinal vascular velocities were measured with the use of fluorescent microspheres, and diameters and mean circulation times were measured after the infusion of fluorescent dextran. Arteriolar and venular shear rates were calculated from the ratio of velocity to diameter.
In the retinas of SHR, velocities were elevated (compared with control WKY) in arterioles, but not in venules. Both arteriolar and venular diameters were significantly smaller in SHR versus WKY, with substantial increases in shear rates. Despite a tendency toward lower retinal blood flow rates, the mean circulation time through the SHR retina was much faster than can be explained by the measured arteriolar and venular velocities.
The pattern of hypertension-induced increases in blood velocity, dissipating from the arteriolar to venular side of the retinal circulation, indicates a potential transfer of the extra kinetic energy through the vasculature. The combination of elevated velocities through narrower retinal arterioles resulted in a markedly higher level of wall shear rate that may induce changes in the vessel wall. Finally, significantly more rapid transits through the hypertensive retina could be a result of altered blood flow distribution.
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