Opposing Responses of the Calcium Channel Blocker Nicardipine to Vascular Stiffness in the Elastic and Muscular Arteries in Rabbits

J Atheroscler Thromb. 2021 Dec 1;28(12):1340-1348. doi: 10.5551/jat.60848. Epub 2021 Mar 20.


Aim: The cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI) consists of intrinsic and functional arterial stiffness mainly regulated by vasoactive compounds. A new stiffness index of the aorta (aBeta) and iliac-femoral arteries (ifBeta) was determined by applying the CAVI theory to the whole aorta and iliac-femoral arteries. We investigated the changes in aBeta and ifBeta in response to decreased blood pressure (BP) induced by the Ca2+ channel blocker nicardipine to elucidate the involvement of Ca2+ in aBeta and ifBeta.

Methods: Pressure waves at the origin of the aorta (oA), distal end of the abdominal aorta (dA), and left femoral artery (fA) as well as flow waves at the oA were simultaneously recorded before and after the infusion of nicardipine (50 µg/kg/min) for 2 min in 12 male rabbits under pentobarbital anesthesia. Beta was calculated using the following formula: Beta=2ρ / PP×ln (SBP / DBP)×PWV2, where ρ, SBP, DBP, and PP denote blood density and systolic, diastolic, and pulse pressures, respectively. aBeta, ifBeta, and aortic-iliac-femoral Beta (aifBeta) were calculated using aPWV, ifPWV, and aifPWV, respectively.

Results: SBP, mean arterial pressure (MAP), DBP, and total peripheral vascular resistance significantly decreased during the administration of nicardipine, whereas cardiac output significantly increased. aBeta and ifBeta significantly increased and decreased, respectively, whereas aifBeta did not change despite the decrease in BP. ifBeta and aBeta positively and negatively correlated with BP, respectively, whereas aifBeta did not correlate with SBP.

Conclusions: There were contradictory arterial responses to nicardipine between the elastic and muscular arteries. Unknown vasoconstriction mechanisms that are not involved in Ca2+ influx may function in the aorta in response to decreased BP.

Keywords: Arterial stiffness; Beta; Elastic; Nicardipine; muscular arteries.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta, Abdominal / physiopathology*
  • Arterial Pressure / drug effects
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / pharmacology
  • Cardio Ankle Vascular Index
  • Femoral Artery / physiopathology*
  • Iliac Artery / physiopathology*
  • Nicardipine / pharmacology*
  • Pulse Wave Analysis / methods
  • Rabbits
  • Vascular Resistance / drug effects
  • Vascular Stiffness / drug effects*
  • Vasoconstriction / drug effects
  • Vasoconstriction / physiology


  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Nicardipine