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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2008 Oct;295(4):F1149-57. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00440.2007. Epub 2008 Aug 13.

Beta-adrenergic relaxation of mouse urinary bladder smooth muscle in the absence of large-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channel.

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Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, South Carolina College of Pharmacy, University of South Carolina, Coker Life Sciences Bldg., Rm. 709, 715 Sumter St., Columbia, SC 29208, USA.


In urinary bladder smooth muscle (UBSM), stimulation of beta-adrenergic receptors (beta-ARs) leads to activation of the large-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ (BK) channel currents (Petkov GV and Nelson MT. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 288: C1255-C1263, 2005). In this study we tested the hypothesis that the BK channel mediates UBSM relaxation in response to beta-AR stimulation using the highly specific BK channel inhibitor iberiotoxin (IBTX) and a BK channel knockout (BK-KO) mouse model in which the gene for the pore-forming subunit was deleted. UBSM strips isolated from wild-type (WT) and BK-KO mice were stimulated with 20 mM K+ or 1 microM carbachol to induce phasic and tonic contractions. BK-KO and WT UBSM strips pretreated with IBTX had increased overall contractility, and UBSM BK-KO cells were depolarized with approximately 12 mV. Isoproterenol, a nonspecific beta-AR agonist, and forskolin, an adenylate cyclase activator, decreased phasic and tonic contractions of WT UBSM strips in a concentration-dependent manner. In the presence of IBTX, the concentration-response curves to isoproterenol and forskolin were shifted to the right in WT UBSM strips. Isoproterenol- and forskolin-mediated relaxations were enhanced in BK-KO UBSM strips, and a leftward shift in the concentration-response curves was observed. The leftward shift was eliminated upon PKA inhibition with H-89, suggesting upregulation of the beta-AR-cAMP pathway in BK-KO mice. These results indicate that the BK channel is a key modulator in beta-AR-mediated relaxation of UBSM and further suggest that alterations in BK channel expression or function could contribute to some pathophysiological conditions such as overactive bladder and urinary incontinence.

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