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J Physiol. 1991 Aug;439:147-60.

Cyclic AMP relaxes swine arterial smooth muscle predominantly by decreasing cell Ca2+ concentration.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville 22908.


1. Our objective was to evaluate the mechanism of cyclic AMP-dependent arterial smooth muscle relaxation. Cyclic AMP-dependent relaxation has been proposed to result from either (a) a decrease in intracellular [Ca2+] or (b) a decrease in [Ca2+] sensitivity of myosin light chain kinase by protein kinase A-dependent phosphorylation of myosin kinase. 2. We evaluated these proposed mechanisms by examining forskolin-induced changes in aequorin-estimated myoplasmic [Ca2+], [cyclic AMP], myosin phosphorylation and stress generation in agonist-stimulated or KCl-depolarized swine common carotid media tissues. 3. Forskolin, an activator of adenylyl cyclase, increased [cyclic AMP] and reduced [Ca2+], myosin phosphorylation and stress in tissues pre-contracted with phenylephrine or histamine. This relaxation was not associated with an alteration of the [Ca2+] sensitivity of phosphorylation, nor the dependence of stress on phosphorylation. 4. Forskolin pre-treatment attenuated, but did not abolish, agonist-induced increases in [Ca2+] and stress. 5. These results suggest that cyclic AMP-induced relaxation of the agonist-stimulated swine carotid media is primarily caused by cyclic AMP-mediated decreases in myoplasmic [Ca2+].

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