Allen Mangel, MD, PhD, and Executive Vice President of RTI-HS is co-author on a new study that provides additional support for the idea that the aorta takes an active role in the cardiac cycle.
There have been previous studies with rabbits, dogs and cats, which demonstrate that the aorta undergoes rhythmic contraction in synchrony with the heartbeat. This new study, conducted at Georgetown University School of Medicine, provides evidence of active aortic contraction in another species (rat), as well as showing that these contractions are under neural control. Additionally, the researchers demonstrate that the activity observed is independent of any artifact (electrical or physical) associated with the heartbeat.
Dr. Mangel and colleagues' findings are in contrast with the century-old belief that the aorta and other large arteries are passive elastic tubes that do not actively contract.
Sahibzada N, Mangel AW, Tatge JE, Dretchen KL, Franz MR, Virmani R, Gillis RA. Rhythmic aortic contractions induced by electrical stimulation in vivo in the rat. PLOS ONE, 2015 July.
“This new perception opens the possibility of discovering previously unrecognized causes for diseases such as aortic dissection and aneurysm formation,” explains Dr. Mangel, “which in turn could lead to development of new therapies.”
The study has been released in PLOS ONE. For additional information about this research, contact Dr. Mangel using the link below.