Background: Recent studies on aging-associated changes in mesenteric lymph flow in situ demonstrated predominance of the severe negative chronotropic effect of aging on the contractility of aged mesenteric lymphatic vessels (MLV). At the same time, contraction amplitude of the aged vessels was only slightly diminished by aging and can be rapidly stimulated within 5-15 minutes. However, the detailed quantitative evaluation of potential aging-associated changes in muscle cells investiture in MLV has never been performed. Methods and Results: In this study we, for the first time, performed detailed evaluation of muscle cells investiture in MLV in reference to the position of lymphatic valve in different zones of lymphangion within various age groups (3-mo, 9-mo and 24-mo Fischer-344 rats). Using visual and quantitative analyses of the images of MLV immunohistochemically labeled for actin, we confirmed that the zones located close upstream (pre-valve zones) and above lymphatic valves (valve zones) possess the lowest investiture of lymphatic muscle cells. Most of the high muscle cells investiture zones exist downstream to the lymphatic valve (post-valve zones). The muscle cells investiture of these zones is not affected by aging, while pre-valve and valve zones demonstrate significant aging-associated decrease in muscle cells investiture. Conclusions: The low muscle cells investiture zones in lymphatic vessels consist of predominantly longitudinally oriented muscle cells which are positioned in pre-valve and valve zones and connect adjacent lymphangions. These cells may provide important functional impact on the biomechanics of the lymphatic valve gating and electrical coupling between lymphangions, while their aging-associated changes may delimit adaptive reserves of aged lymphatic vessels.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine