Changes in the structure and mechanical properties of pulmonary arteries of rats exposed to cigarette smoke

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1993 Sep;148(3):768-77. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/148.3.768.


The effect of cigarette smoke on the structure and mechanical properties of pulmonary arteries was studied in 2- and 3-month smoke-exposed rats. The animals were exposed to cigarette smoke in a smoke-generating system 10 times per day with one cigarette each time. The smoke density and the puffing duration and frequency of the system were regulated in accordance with reference values measured from human smokers. The volume fractions of the cells, including smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts, and extracellular matrix components, including collagen, elastin, and remainder (components not specified in this study), of the pulmonary arteries of approximately 450 microns in external diameter (at zero pressure) were determined in smoke-exposed and control rats by using an electron microscopic method. It was found that the volume fractions of the fibroblasts, the collagenous bundles, and the elastic laminae of the pulmonary arteries were increased significantly, whereas those of the smooth muscle cells and the remainder were decreased significantly in both the 2- and 3-month smoke-exposed rats in comparison with those of the corresponding control rats. The mechanical properties of the pulmonary arteries were determined based on the in vitro dimensional measurement of the vessels at various inflation pressures and zero-stress state. An increase in the stiffness of the pulmonary arteries was found in both the 2- and 3-month smoke-exposed rats. We conclude that cigarette smoke can induce structural and mechanical remodeling in the pulmonary arteries of rats.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atmosphere Exposure Chambers
  • Blood Pressure
  • Equipment Design
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Pulmonary Artery / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Artery / ultrastructure
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Regression Analysis
  • Smoke / adverse effects*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Time Factors
  • Tobacco*


  • Smoke