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Br J Pharmacol. 1990 Nov;101(3):545-52.

Front-surface fluorometry with fura-2 and effects of nitroglycerin on cytosolic calcium concentrations and on tension in the coronary artery of the pig.

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Division of Molecular Cardiology, Faculty of Medicine, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.


1. By use of front-surface fluorometry and fura-2-loaded strips of the coronary artery of the pig, the effects of nitroglycerin (NG) on cytosolic Ca2+ concentrations ([Ca2+]i) and on tension development were measured simultaneously. 2. Both high K+ depolarization and histamine increased [Ca2+]i and tension in a concentration-dependent manner. However, the tension development in relation to the [Ca2+]i increase ([Ca2+]i-tension relation) observed with histamine was much greater than that observed with K+ depolarization. 3. NG reduced in a concentration-dependent manner both [Ca2+]i and tension, irrespective of whether the vascular strips were in a resting state or during exposure to high K+ or to histamine stimulation. However, the extent of reduction in tension (relaxation) was greater than that expected from the reduction in [Ca2+]i based on the [Ca2+]i-tension relationship observed with K(+)-depolarization. 4. In the absence of extracellular Ca2+, NG depleted stored Ca2+ and also inhibited Ca2+ release from histamine-sensitive stores, but had no effect on the caffeine-sensitive stores. NG inhibited the caffeine-induced tension development with no change in [Ca2+]i. 5. We suggest that NG relaxes the coronary artery of the pig by reducing [Ca2+]i and also by directly controlling contractile elements through second messengers not related to changes in [Ca2+]i.

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