Role of vasa vasorum in transendothelial solute transport in the coronary vessel wall: A study with cryostatic micro-CT

Mario Gössl, Patricia E. Beighley, Nasser M. Malyar, Erik L. Ritman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Using cryostatic microscopic computed tomography (micro-CT), we sought to determine the role of coronary vasa vasorum (VV) in transendothelial solute transport in arteries with normal and increased permeability due to high plasma cholesterol levels. In 6-mo-old pigs on a normal (n = 23) and 2% high cholesterol (HC) diet (n = 8), 2-cm segments of the proximal left anterior descending coronary arteries were removed in vivo after a selective injection of X-ray contrast solution. Harvesting of the specimens occurred at 0, 15, 25, 35, or 45 s after completion of the contrast injection. Specimens were snap frozen and scanned in our cryostatic micro-CT. The spatial distribution of contrast in the coronary artery wall was quantified using the CT images. Right coronary arteries were infused with Microfil to determine VV density (VV/ mm2) and the cumulative lumen surface area (mm2/mm3). Transendothelial diffusion of contrast into the coronary vessel wall is a dynamic process starting at both the subintima and the adventitia. The subintimal opacification moves as a wave toward the adventitia, whereas the adventitial wave resolves. The coronary vessel wall in animals on a HC diet shows higher opacification than in normal coronary arteries without an increase of VV total luminal surface area. The loss of endothelial integrity in hypercholesterolemia significantly alters VV solute washin to, and washout from, the coronary artery wall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H2346-H2351
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5 56-5
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Coronary artery wall perfusion
  • Endothelium
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Microscopic computed tomography
  • Permeability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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