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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2011 Feb;300(2):H476-85. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00975.2010. Epub 2010 Dec 3.

Large-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channel beta1-subunit knockout mice are not hypertensive.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA. xuhui2@msu.edu


Large-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ (BK) channels are composed of pore-forming α-subunits and accessory β1-subunits that modulate Ca2+ sensitivity. BK channels regulate arterial myogenic tone and renal Na+ clearance/K+ reabsorption. Previous studies using indirect or short-term blood pressure measurements found that BK channel β1-subunit knockout (BK β1-KO) mice were hypertensive. We evaluated 24-h mean arterial pressure (MAP) and heart rate in BK β1-KO mice using radiotelemetry. BK β1-KO mice did not have a higher 24-h average MAP when compared with wild-type (WT) mice, although MAP was ∼10 mmHg higher at night. The dose-dependent peak declines in MAP by nifedipine were only slightly larger in BK β1-KO mice. In BK β1-KO mice, giving 1% NaCl to mice to drink for 7 days caused a transient (5 days) elevation of MAP (∼5 mmHg); MAP returned to pre-saline levels by day 6. BK β1-KO mesenteric arteries in vitro demonstrated diminished contractile responses to paxilline, increased reactivity to Bay K 8644 and norepinephrine (NE), and maintained relaxation to isoproterenol. Paxilline and Bay K 8644 did not constrict WT or BK β1-KO mesenteric veins (MV). BK β1-subunits are not expressed in MV. The results indicate that BK β1-KO mice are not hypertensive on normal or high-salt intake. BK channel deficiency increases arterial reactivity to NE and L-type Ca2+ channel function in vitro, but the L-type Ca2+ channel modulation of MAP is not altered in BK β1-KO mice. BK and L-type Ca(2+) channels do not modulate murine venous tone. It appears that selective loss of BK channel function in arteries only is not sufficient to cause sustained hypertension.

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