On arterial contractility, energetic requirements of the cardiovascular system, and the formation of arterial sclerosis

Flavio Ballenini Souza-Campos, Florida International University


The aorta has been viewed as a passive distribution manifold for blood whose elasticity allows it to store blood during cardiac ejection (systole), and release it during relaxation (diastole). This capacitance, or compliance, lowers peak cardiac work input and maintains peripheral sanguine irrigation throughout the cardiac cycle. The compliance of the human and canine circulatory systems have been described either as constant throughout the cycle (Toy et al. 1985) or as some inverse function of pressure (Li et al. 1990, Cappelo et al. 1995). This work shows that a compliance value that is higher during systole than diastole (equivalent to a direct function of pressure) leads to a reduction in the energetic input to the cardiovascular system (CV), even when accounting for the energy required to change compliance. This conclusion is obtained numerically, based on a 3-element lumped-parameter model of the CV, then demonstrated in a physical model built for the purpose. It is then shown, based on the numerical and physical models, on analytical considerations of elastic tubes, and on the analysis of arterial volume as a function of pressure measured in vivo (Armentano et al. 1995), that the mechanical effects of a presupposed arterial contraction are consistent with those of energetically beneficial changes in compliance during the cardiac cycle. Although the amount of energy potentially saved with rhythmically contracting arteries is small (mean 0.55% for the cases studied) the importance of the phenomenon lies in its possible relation to another function of the arterial smooth muscle (ASM): synthesis of wall matrix macromolecules. It is speculated that a reduction in the rate of collagen synthesis by the ASM is implicated in the formation of arteriosclerosis.

Subject Area

Biomedical research|Biophysics|Mechanics|Anatomy & physiology|Animals|Pathology

Recommended Citation

Souza-Campos, Flavio Ballenini, "On arterial contractility, energetic requirements of the cardiovascular system, and the formation of arterial sclerosis" (1997). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9726725.