In the present study, myogenic properties of femoral arteries from control hindlimbs and those distal to external iliac artery partial ligation of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs) and normotensive Wistar–Kyoto (WKY) rats were assessed. Arterial pressure was reduced distal to the ligature in both strains. Media thickness/lumen diameter (M/L) ratios of control (unligatured) SHRs were greater than in unligatured WKY rats and were reduced in arteries distal to the ligature (ligatured) within each strain. In none of the comparisons was a greater M/L ratio associated with greater maximal myogenic contractions, but increased M/L ratios were associated with a shift of myogenic activity to a higher pressure range in all comparisons. SHR ligatured arteries produced greater pressure-dependent contractile responses than WKY rat unligatured arteries, although arterial structures were not significantly different. Wall stress was similar in all arteries within the 60–120 mmHg pressure range with myogenic tone in spite of large differences in arterial structure. The utilization of arteries with experimentally altered structure provides further evidence that increased M/L ratios are not associated with greater peak pressure-dependent contractile responses and that arterial wall stress is maintained within a narrow range through an interaction between arterial wall geometry and smooth muscle contractile function.

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