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Anesthesiology. 1996 Aug;85(2):366-79.

Effects of halothane and isoflurane on bradykinin-evoked Ca2+ influx inbovine aortic endothelial cells.

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  • 1Department de Physiologie, Université de Montréal, Canada.



Volatile anesthetics, such as halothane and isoflurane, have been reported to affect the endothelium mediated relaxation of vascular smooth muscle cells. Because the activity of the constitutive nitric oxide synthase in endothelial cells depends on the availability of intracellular Ca2+, there is a definite possibility that the observed inhibitory effect of volatile anesthetics involves an action on the agonist-evoked internal Ca2+ mobilization and/or Ca2+ influx in these cells. Therefore, a study was undertaken to determine how halothane and isoflurane affect the Ca2+ signalling process in vascular endothelial cells.


The effect of halothane and isoflurane on the Ca2+ response to bradykinin of bovine aortic endothelial (BAE) cells was investigated using the fluorescent Ca2+ indicator fura-2. Halothane or isoflurane was applied either to resting cells or after bradykinin stimulation. The agonist-evoked Ca2+ influx in BAE cells was estimated by measuring either the rate of fura-2 quenching induced by Mn2+ or the increase in cytosolic Ca2+ concentration initiated after readmission of external Ca2+ after a brief exposure of the cells to a Ca(2+)-free external medium. The effects of halothane on cell potential and intracellular Ca2+ concentration were measured in cell-attached patch-clamp experiments in which a calcium-activated K+ channel and an inward rectifying Ca(2+)-independent K+ channel were used as probes to simultaneously monitor the intracellular Ca2+ concentration and the cell transmembrane potential. In addition, combined fura-2 and patch-clamp cell-attached recordings were carried out, to correlate the variations in internal Ca2+ caused by halothane and the activity of the Ca(2+)-dependent K+ channels, which are known in BAE cells to regulate intracellular potential. Finally, a direct action of halothane and isoflurane on the gating properties of the Ca(2+)-activated K+ channel present in these cells was investigated in patch-excised inside-out experiments.


The results of the current study indicate that the initial Ca2+ increase in response to bradykinin stimulation is not affected by halothane, but that pulse applications of halothane (0.4-2 mM) or isoflurane (0.5-1 mM) reversibly reduce the sustained cytosolic Ca2+ increase initiated either by bradykinin or by the Ca2+ pump inhibitor thapsigargin. In addition, halothane appeared to dose-dependently inhibit the Ca2+ influx evoked by bradykinin, and to cause, concomitant to a decrease in cytosolic Ca2+ concentration, a depolarization of the cell potential. Halothane failed, however, to affect internal Ca2+ concentration in thapsigargin-treated endothelial cells, which were depolarized using a high K+ external solution. Finally, halothane and isoflurane decreased the open probability of the Ca(2+)-dependent K+ channel present in these cells.


These observations suggest that the effects of halothane and isoflurane on Ca2+ homeostasis in BAE cells reflect, for the most part, a reduction of the thapsigargin- or bradykinin-evoked Ca2+ influx, which would be consequent to a cellular depolarization caused by an inhibition of the Ca(2+)-dependent K+ channel activity initiated after cell stimulation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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