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August 1979

Hypertensive Breakdown of Cerebral but Not of Retinal Blood Vessels in Rhesus Monkey

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology, Scheie Eye Institute, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia (Dr Laties and Ms McGlinn), and the Laboratory of Neurosciences, National Institute on Aging, Gerontology Research Center, Baltimore City Hospitals (Dr Rapoport).

Arch Ophthalmol. 1979;97(8):1511-1514. doi:10.1001/archopht.1979.01020020173018

• Acute hypertension, induced either by intravenous injection of metaraminol bitartrate (Aramine), infusion of isotonic saline into the common carotid artery, or a combination of both procedures did not in the rhesus monkey lead to breakdown of the blood-retinal barrier. Whereas the cerebral vasculature was made permeable to blood-borne dye at carotid pressures above 160 mm Hg, the retinal blood vessels were intact even at pressures as high as 310 mm Hg. Hypertensive blood-brain barrier opening was associated with neurologic defects and brain edema. The results indicate that the retina is more resistant to acute hypertension than is the brain. The greater resistance in the retina may be due to the high number of contractile, perivascular mural cells counteracting increased intravascular hydrostatic pressure. An alternative or supplementary explanation is that choroidal and retinal blood vessels are better protected from surges in blood pressure than are brain blood vessels. Differences between the innervation of brain and ocular blood vessels could account for this.

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