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The diameter of resistance arteries has a profound effect on the distribution of microvascular blood flow and the control of systemic blood pressure. Here, we review mechanisms that contribute to the regulation of resistance artery diameter, both acutely and chronically, their temporal characteristics, and their interdependence. Furthermore, we hypothesize the existence of a remodeling continuum that allows for the vascular wall to rapidly modify its structural characteristics, specifically through the re-positioning of vascular smooth muscle cells. Importantly, the concepts presented more closely link acute vasoregulatory responses with adaptive changes in vessel wall structure. These rapid structural adaptations provide resistance vessels the ability to maintain a desired diameter under presumed optimal energetic and mechanical conditions.
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