Length tension relationship of smooth muscle of the hog carotid artery

J. T. Herlihy, R. A. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

227 Scopus citations


The length tension relationships for arterial smooth muscle were determined using vascular strips teased from the media of hog carotid arteries. Histological examination revealed that the strips were free of adventitia and composed of smooth muscle cells oriented parallel to the long axis of the strips. Measurements from electron micrographs indicated that 60% of the cross sectional area consisted of smooth muscle. At L0 (the optimal length for tension development) the total cross sectional area of the strips varied from 0.3 to 0.8 mm2. Potassium induced depolarization was the most effective stimulus for force development. Norepinephrine and electric field stimulation elicited responses which were 70% and 30%, respectively, of that produced by potassium induced depolarization. At L0 the intrinsic load bearing capacity (P0) of the contractile system was 2.22x106 dynes/cm2. Tension development fell off gradually at lengths shorter than L0 and more rapidly at lengths greater than L0. Passive length tension curves were determined after quick releases from higher to lower lengths to avoid complications arising from tone. Passive tension was negligible at lengths below 0.9 L0. At L0 the passive tension was 10% of P0.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-283
Number of pages9
JournalCirculation research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1973
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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