Myogenic constriction of human coronary arterioles

Francis J. Miller, Kevin C. Dellsperger, David D. Gutterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Myogenic constriction is an important mechanism of blood flow regulation; however, it has never been demonstrated in the human coronary circulation. We examined responses of human coronary resistance vessels in vitro to changes in intraluminal pressure and evaluated the role of protein kinase C (PKC). Microvessels (passive diameter 44-227 μm) were dissected from atrial appendages obtained during cardiac surgery and studied under conditions of zero flow. In response to stepped increases in pressure, there was a graded response such that at 100 mmHg, vessels constricted to 55 ± 4% of their passive diameter. There was an inverse relationship between vessel diameter and myogenic responsiveness. Basal tone was attenuated by inhibition of voltage-dependent calcium channels (VDCC) with diltiazem and by inhibition of PKC with calphostin C. Activation of PKC with phorbol 12-myristate 13- acetate (PMA) enhanced basal tone. Active myogenic constriction was also impaired by calphostin C and augmented by PMA. Arterioles from patients with hypertension demonstrated enhanced myogenic constriction compared with vessels from normotensive patients (0.55 ± 0.04 vs. 0.74 ± 0.03; P < 0.01). These results demonstrate myogenic constriction in the human coronary microcirculation. Regulation of extracellular calcium by VDCC and intracellular calcium by PKC are important in mediating the magnitude of basal tone and myogenic responsiveness of these vessels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H257-H264
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number1 42-1
StatePublished - Jul 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Autoregulation
  • Coronary circulation
  • Hypertension
  • Microcirculation
  • Protein kinase C

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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