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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2009 Mar;20(3):513-23. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2008040427. Epub 2008 Dec 10.

Epoxyeicosatrienoic acid activates BK channels in the cortical collecting duct.

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Department of Pharmacology, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY 10595, USA.


The cortical collecting duct (CCD), which is involved in renal potassium (K) excretion, expresses cytochrome P450 (CYP)-epoxygenase. Here, we examined the effect of high dietary K on renal expression of CYP2C23 and CYP2J2 in the rat, as well as the role of CYP-epoxygenase-dependent metabolism of arachidonic acid in the regulation of Ca(2+)-activated big-conductance K (BK) channels. By Western blot analysis, high dietary K stimulated the expression of CYP2C23 but not CYP2J2 and increased 11,12-epoxyeicosatrienoic acid (11,12-EET) levels in isolated rat CCD tubules. Application of arachidonic acid increased BK channel activity, and this occurred to a greater extent in rats on a high-K diet compared with a normal-K diet. This effect was unlikely due to arachidonic acid-induced changes in membrane fluidity, because 11,14,17-eicosatrienoic acid did not alter BK channel activity. Inhibiting CYP-epoxygenase but not cyclooxygenase- or CYP-omega-hydroxylase-dependent pathways completely abolished the stimulatory effect of arachidonic acid on BK channel activity. In addition, application of 11,12-EET mimicked the effect of arachidonic acid on BK channel activity, even in the presence of CYP-epoxygenase inhibition. This effect seemed specific to 11,12-EET, because both 8,9- and 14,15-EET failed to stimulate BK channels. Finally, inhibition of CYP-epoxygenase abolished iberiotoxin-sensitive and flow-stimulated but not basal net K secretion in isolated microperfused CCD. In conclusion, high dietary K stimulates the renal CYP-epoxygenase pathway, which plays an important role in activating BK channels and flow-stimulated K secretion in the CCD.

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