Isolated tissue techniques
Several decades of technical innovation have provided a wide range of methods for studying the function of vascular smooth muscle with various degrees of organization ranging from intact, conscious animals down to single smooth muscle cells, and subcellular fractions. In intact animals there are many extrinsic factors that influence the behaviour of vascular smooth muscle, so in a broad way the degree of control the experimenter has is inversely related to the degree of intactness of the animal. Characterization of the intrinsic properties of arteries and arterioles can only be performed in vitro, but even then characterization can be made at a number of different levels of vascular integrity. This chapter deals with some common in vitro methods involving vascular segments and perfused vascular beds and the other methodologies used.
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