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Eur J Pharmacol. 2001 Oct 12;428(3):311-4.

Levosimendan is a mitochondrial K(ATP) channel opener.

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Institute for Biomedical Research, Kaunas University of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania.


Levosimendan, a new inodilator developed for the treatment of heart failure has been shown to have a vasodilatory effect via opening of K(ATP) channels in the plasma membrane of vascular smooth muscle cells. In this study, we investigated the effects of levosimendan on the mitochondrial K(ATP) channel. This compound did not influence mitochondrial transmembrane potential (DeltaPsi), and at up to 2.2 microM had no effect on the respiration rate of rat liver mitochondria, respiring on 5 mM succinate (+5 microM rotenone). A sensitive method was developed for assessing K(ATP) channel opening activity employing rat liver mitochondria, respiring only on endogenous substrates in the presence of 400 microM ATP and 1 microg oligomycin/mg mitochondrial protein. In this model, levosimendan (0.7-2.6 microM) decreased DeltaPsi by 6.5-40.4% (n=3, incubation time 15 min). This effect was dependent on the K+ concentration in the incubation medium and was abolished by the selective blocker of the mitochondrial K(ATP) channel-5-hydroxydecanoate (200 microM). Our results indicate that levosimendan opens mitochondrial K(ATP) channels.

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