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Experimental Diabetes Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 278620, 11 pages
Research Article

Time-Dependent Alterations in Rat Macrovessels with Type 1 Diabetes

1Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA
2Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA

Received 14 July 2011; Revised 3 October 2011; Accepted 7 October 2011

Academic Editor: Mark A. Yorek

Copyright © 2012 Yvonne Searls 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.


Vascular complications are associated with the progressive severity of diabetes, resulting in significant morbidity and mortality. This study quantifies functional vascular parameters and macrovascular structure in a rat model of type 1 diabetes. While there was no difference in the systemic arterial elastance (Ea) with 50 days of diabetes, changes were noted in the aorta and femoral artery including increased tunica media extracellular matrix content, decreased width of both the media and individual smooth muscle cell layers, and increased incidence of damaged mitochondria. Extracellular matrix proteins and elastin levels were significantly greater in the aorta of diabetic animals. These differences correlated with diminished matrix metalloprotease activity in the aorta of the diabetic animals. In conclusion, diabetes significantly altered the structure and ultrastructure of the aorta and femoral artery before systemic changes in arterial elastance could be detected.