Oxygen tension within the arterial wall: Relationship to altered bioenergetic metabolism and lipid accumulation
Oxygen tension (pO2) was measured in upper thoracic arteries and in muscular foci at the celiac bifurcation from atherosclerosis-susceptible White Carneau and atherosclerosis-resistant Show Racer pigeons at 6, 12, and 24 weeks of age. At each site the pO2 was measured within adventitial (outer), medial (middle), and subendothelial (inner) zones with polarographic oxygen microelectrodes while the animals were under dissociative anesthesia. The atherosclerosis-resistant Show Racer pigeons exhibited no significant age or site differences in pO2 levels. The medial pO2 was approximately 25 mm Hg, while the adventitial and subendothelial zones had pO2 levels of approximately 30 mm Hg. The pO2 profiles through the various zones of the arterial wall of 6-week-old atherosclerosis-susceptible White Carneau pigeons were similar to those of the Show Racers. However, significantly lower oxygen tension was found in the subendothelial zone from 12- and 24-week White Carneau celiac bifurcations (27 and 21 mm Hg) than in corresponding zones in Show Racer sites. Also, the medial zone in 24-week White Carneau celiac foci exhibited a significantly lower pO2 (20 mm Hg) than the medial zone of younger White Carneau. When correlated with previously described biochemical and morphological changes in White Carneau pigeons, the findings presented herein indicate that focal decreases in oxygen availability within arterial tissue occur after the onset of spontaneous atherogenesis, and probably result from decreased diffusion of oxygen into the arterial wall.