Virchows Archiv A

, Volume 399, Issue 3, pp 325–332 | Cite as

Changes in vascular morphology associated with the no-reflow phenomenon in ischaemic myocardium

  • John B. Gavin
  • Robert W. Thomson
  • Stuart M. Humphrey
  • Peter B. Herdson


To investigate the pathogenesis of the reperfusion defect which develops in ischaemic myocardium, intravascular casts were prepared by injection of methyl methacrylate into the coronary arteries of isolated heparinised rat hearts. Using a scanning electron microscope, the vascular morphology following 60 min of global ischaemia at 37° C was compared to that of non-ischaemic control hearts injected immediately after stopping perfusion with oxygenated Krebs-Henseleit buffer. Complete casts were obtained from control hearts and from all parts of ischaemic hearts except the subendocardial half of the left ventricular wall of ischaemic hearts where the blood vessels were not filled. At the border between the perfused subepicardial and unperfused left subendocardial regions, the resin which filled the radial penetrating arteries and their branches projected from the filled capillary plexus to an extent proportional to their diameter. Intravascular events such as erythrocyte plugging and thrombosis were excluded as causative factors by the use of a cell-free perfusate. Also, there was no morphological evidence that endothelial cell swelling or constriction of any particular population of vessels was involved. The observed pattern of vascular occlusion suggests that, during global ischaemia, blood vessels in the endocardial half of the left ventricular myocardium lose their ability to be reperfused because of extravascular compression.

Key words

Myocardial ischaemia Intravascular casts Reperfusion 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • John B. Gavin
    • 1
  • Robert W. Thomson
    • 1
  • Stuart M. Humphrey
    • 1
  • Peter B. Herdson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of Auckland School of MedicineAucklandNew Zealand

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