Mangel AW, Fahim M, van Breemen C. Rhythmic contractile activity of the in vivo rabbit aorta. Nature. 1981 Feb 19;289(5799):692-4.

The cellular element of theaortais largely smoothmuscle; yet this organ has long been regarded as a passive elastic tube, without regard for the possible function of its smoothmusclecells. The isolatedrabbitaortabecame popular as a convenient smoothmusclepreparation, and much has been learned about its cellular physiology, but unfortunately the functional role of this tissue was lost on its excision. Like many mammalian arterial preparations, the isolatedaortaeither fails to show spontaneous electrical or mechanicalactivity, or showsactivityof a much slower frequency than therhythmicactivityof the heart, thus obscuring any possible relationship with the pulsatileactivityof the heart. However, contractions are elicited from the isolatedaortaon stimulation with various neural and hormonal agents.Ineffect, the aortic smoothmusclehas been classified as multiunit, which suggests that physiological activation may be neurogenic. Thus, removal of themusclefrom the body may resultindisruption of the neural connections which functioninnormal activation ofcontraction. We show here that when recordings of aortic tension are madein vivo,rhythmiccontractions are observed. Evidence is presented which indicates that the contractions are neurogenicinorigin an exhibit a precise phasing pattern with the pulse wave.

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