Vascularity of myocardium and gastrocnemius muscle in rats selectively bred for endurance running capacity

Patricia E. Beighley, Mair Zamir, Robert J. Wentz, Lauren G. Koch, Steven L. Britton, Erik L. Ritman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We tested the hypothesis that changes in the arteriolar branching architecture contributed to increased running capacity of rats subjected to two-way artificial selection for intrinsic aerobic endurance treadmill running capacity resulting in strains of low-capacity and high-capacity endurance rats. Hearts and gastrocnemius muscles were harvested from each strain, and the microvasculature's branching geometry measured from micro-CT images. The vascular branching geometry of the hearts and skeletal muscle from the high capacity was indistinguishable from low-capacity rats. Our hypothesis was not supported. Neither remodeling nor an increase in arteriolar microvasculature branching appears to play a role in the enhanced performance of the high capacity rats. We are led to speculate that endothelial tolerance for shear stress and/or increased coupling of myocardial muscle fiber metabolic-to-contractile function is increased in the high-capacity runner strain to the effect of allowing either higher flow rate per unit volume of muscle or more efficient use of oxygen and nutrients in the high-capacity endurance rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-125
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiological Genomics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 4 2013


  • Arterial branching
  • Metabolic efficiency
  • Micro-CT
  • Perfusion territory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics


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