Supplementary Material for: Elastin Organization in Pig and Cardiovascular Disease Patients' Pericardial Resistance Arteries

Peripheral vascular resistance is increased in essential hypertension. This involves structural changes of resistance arteries and stiffening of the arterial wall, including remodeling of the extracellular matrix. We hypothesized that biopsies of the human parietal pericardium, obtained during coronary artery bypass grafting or cardiac valve replacement surgeries, can serve as a source of resistance arteries for structural research in cardiovascular disease patients. We applied two-photon excitation fluorescence microscopy to study the parietal pericardium and isolated pericardial resistance arteries with a focus on the collagen and elastin components of the extracellular matrix. Initial findings in pig tissue were confirmed in patient biopsies. The microarchitecture of the internal elastic lamina in both the pig and patient pericardial resistance arteries (studied at a transmural pressure of 100 mm Hg) is fiber like, and no prominent external elastic lamina could be observed. This microarchitecture is very different from that in rat mesenteric arteries frequently used for resistance artery research. In conclusion, we add three-dimensional information on the structure of the extracellular matrix in resistance arteries from cardiovascular disease patients and propose further use of patient pericardial resistance arteries for studies of the human microvasculature.