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International Journal of Hypertension
Volume 2012, Article ID 187526, 6 pages
Review Article

Vascular Dysfunction as Target Organ Damage in Animal Models of Hypertension

1Department of Clinical Medicine, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Avenue 28 de Setembro, 77 sala 329, 20551-030 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
2Faculty of Nutrition, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rua Mariz e Barros 775, 20270-004 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Received 15 September 2011; Accepted 29 November 2011

Academic Editor: Agostino Virdis

Copyright © 2012 Mario Fritsch Neves et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Endothelial dysfunction is one of the main characteristics of chronic hypertension and it is characterized by impaired nitric oxide (NO) bioactivity determined by increased levels of reactive oxygen species. Endothelial function is usually evaluated by measuring the vasodilation induced by the local NO production stimulated by external mechanical or pharmacological agent. These vascular reactivity tests may be carried out in different models of experimental hypertension such as NO-deficient rats, spontaneously hypertensive rats, salt-sensitive rats, and many others. Wire myograph and pressurized myograph are the principal methods used for vascular studies. Usually, increasing concentrations of the vasodilator acetylcholine are added in cumulative manner to perform endothelium-dependent concentration-response curves. Analysis of vascular mechanics is relevant to identify arterial stiffness. Both endothelial dysfunction and vascular stiffness have been shown to be associated with increased cardiovascular risk.