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Apamin/charybdotoxin-sensitive endothelial K+ channels contribute to acetylcholine-induced, NO-dependent vasorelaxation of rat aorta

Yue Qiu, John Quilley

Med Sci Monit 2001; 7(6): BR1129-1136 :: ID: 507636


Background: Activation of endothelial K+ channels and the subsequent increase in intracellular Ca2+, may be an important step in the release of relaxant factors in response to endothelium-dependent vasodilator agents. However, the type of K+ channel involved in hyperpolarization of the endothelium and the subsequent release of relaxing factors remains to be defined.
Material and methods: Rat aortic rings precontracted with U46619 were used to address the effects of inhibitors of K+ channels on the vasorelaxant esponse to acetylcholine (Ach). As responses to Ach were mediated solely by endothelium-derived NO and responses to NO derived from nitroprusside were unaffected by inhibition K+ channels, any effect of K+ channel inhibitors could be attributed to actions on endothelial K+ channels to modify NO release.
Results: Tetraethylammonium (TEA) and elevated K+ attenuated the relaxant effect of Ach, indicating a role for K+ channels in NO release. The Ca2+-activated K+ channel inhibitors, apamin, charybdotoxin and iberiotoxin as well as glibenclamide and BaCl2, inhibitors of ATP-sensitive K+ channels and inwardly rectifying K+ channels, respectively, did not affect the response to Ach. However, a combination of apamin and charybdotoxin, but not apamin and iberiotoxin, attenuated the vasorelaxant response to Ach.
Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that NO release in response to Ach involves activation of an endothelial K+ channel that is inhibited by a combination of apamin and charybdotoxin.

Keywords: rat aorta, NO-dependent vasorelaxation, endothelial K+ channels

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750