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Br J Pharmacol. 2003 Feb;138(4):594-601.

Selective blockade of endothelial Ca2+-activated small- and intermediate-conductance K+-channels suppresses EDHF-mediated vasodilation.

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Department of Nephrology, Benjamin Franklin Medical Center, Berlin, Germany.


1. Activation of Ca(2+)-activated K(+)-channels (K(Ca)) has been suggested to play a key role in endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF)-mediated vasodilation. However, due to the low selectivity of commonly used K(Ca)-channel blockers it is still elusive which endothelial K(Ca)-subtypes mediate hyperpolarization and thus initiate EDHF-mediated vasodilation. 2. Using the non-cytochrome P450 blocking clotrimazole-derivatives, 1-[(2-chlorophenyl) diphenylmethyl]-1H-pyrazole (TRAM-34) and 2-(2-chlorophenyl)-2,2-diphenylacetonitrile (TRAM-39) as highly selective IK1-inhibitors, we investigated the role of the intermediate-conductance K(Ca) (rIK1) in endothelial hyperpolarization and EDHF-mediated vasodilation. 3. Expression and function of rIK1 and small-conductance K(Ca) (rSK3) were demonstrated in situ in single endothelial cells of rat carotid arteries (CA). rIK1-currents were blocked by TRAM-34 or TRAM-39, while rSK3 was blocked by apamin. In current-clamp experiments, endothelial hyperpolarization in response to acetylcholine was abolished by the combination of apamin and TRAM-34. 4. In phenylephrine-preconstricted CA, acetylcholine-induced NO and prostacyclin-independent vasodilation was almost completely blocked by ChTX, CLT, TRAM-34, or TRAM-39 in combination with the SK3-blocker apamin. Apamin, TRAM-34, and CLT alone or sulphaphenzole, a blocker of the cytochrome P450 isoform 2C9, were ineffective in blocking the EDHF-response. 5. In experiments without blocking NO and prostacyclin synthesis, the combined blockade of SK3 and IK1 reduced endothelium-dependent vasodilation. 6. In conclusion, the use of selective IK1-inhibitors together with the SK3-blocker apamin revealed that activation of both K(Ca), rIK1 and rSK3 is crucial in mediating endothelial hyperpolarization and generation of the EDHF-signal while the cytochrome P450 pathway seems to play a minor or no role in rat CA.

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