Laboratory demonstration of vascular smooth muscle function using rat aortic ring segments

Rayna J. Gonzales, Rebecca W. Carter, Nancy L. Kanagy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This laboratory exercise uses a simple preparation and a straightforward protocol to illustrate many of the basic principles of vascular biology covered in an introductory physiology course. The design of this laboratory allows students to actively participate in an exercise demonstrating the regulation of arterial tone by endothelial and extrinsic factors. In addition, this hands-on laboratory allows students to gather data using well-known basic biomedical research techniques. Specifically, students are introduced to an isolated organ-chamber technique that is widely used to study cellular mechanisms of many tissues including vascular smooth muscle contraction and dilation. On the basis of student evaluations, participation in the experiments and interpreting data reinforce lecture materials on smooth muscle and endothelial cell function and illustrate mechanisms regulating vascular tone. Students come away with a greater understanding of vascular biology, a deeper appreciation of integrative physiology, and an understanding of the process of conducting tissue-chamber experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-21
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Advances in Physiology Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2000


  • Endothelial cell
  • Physiology
  • Teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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