Increasing the number of small blood vessels may be helpful for recovering movement

Increasing the number of small blood vessels may be helpful for recovering movement

Working for long hours tied to increased blood pressure Heavy smokers can suffer from ‘smoker’s leg’, which is where arteries narrow and become blocked. An existing treatment for this is to widen blood vessels to improve circulation. However, this new research shows that more blood flow might not be the solution, and instead increasing the number of small blood vessels, i.e. capillaries, might be more helpful for recovering movement. The researchers used a rat model of heart disease to study the effect of restricting the number of working capillaries in muscle on movement. Using an animal model was key because in humans you wouldn’t be able to look at a change in just one consequence of the disease, as there are usually a number of problems evident at the same time. Stuart Egginton from the University of Leeds, senior author on the study, said: By studying muscle we have isolated one of the complications found in many serious diseases, and found that increasing the number of small blood vessels is a new treatment option alongside the more traditional approach of widening large vessels. This research could help treat people suffering from difficulty moving, which is one of the most debilitating effects of heart disease or diabetes.” Source: The Physiological Society Journal reference: Tickle, P.G., et al. (2020) Impaired skeletal muscle performance as a consequence of random functional capillary rarefaction can be restored with overload‐dependent angiogenesis. Journal of Physiology . doi.org/10.1113/JP278975 .



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