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Eur J Pharmacol. 2011 Nov 16;670(1):252-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2011.08.013. Epub 2011 Sep 2.

Large conductance Ca2+ -activated K+ channel activation with NS1619 decreases myogenic and neurogenic contractions of rat detrusor smooth muscle.

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Pharmaceutical & Biomedical Sciences, South Carolina College of Pharmacy, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.


Large conductance voltage- and Ca(2+)-activated K(+) (BK) channels are important in regulating detrusor smooth muscle (DSM) function. Here, we examined systematically how the BK channel pharmacological activation modulates DSM contractility. NS1619, a potent BK channel activator, was utilized as a pharmacological tool to investigate the effect of BK channel activation on rat DSM contractility. Isometric tension recordings of DSM strips isolated from rat urinary bladder were performed systematically under various experimental conditions. NS1619 (30 μM) substantially diminished DSM spontaneous contraction amplitude, muscle force integral, frequency, duration and muscle tone. This effect was blocked by iberiotoxin, a BK channel selective inhibitor. NS1619 inhibited the phasic and tonic contractions in DSM strips pre-contracted with either the cholinergic agonist, carbachol (0.1 μM), or the depolarizing agent, KCl (20mM). In the presence of elevated KCl (60 mM KCl), the inhibitory effect of NS1619 was significantly reduced, indicating that BK channel activation is the underlying mechanism of NS1619 action. BK channel activation with NS1619 dramatically decreased the amplitude of electrical field stimulation (EFS)-induced contractions under a range of stimulation frequencies (0.5-50 Hz). In the presence of specific neurotransmitter inhibitors, BK channel activation with NS1619 significantly decreased both cholinergic and purinergic components of EFS-induced contractions. We conclude that BK channel activation with NS1619 significantly inhibited spontaneous, pharmacologically induced and nerve-evoked DSM contractions. Targeting the BK channel with selective openers may offer a unique opportunity to control DSM contractile activity, including pathophysiological conditions such as overactive bladder and detrusor overactivity, regardless of the underlying cause.

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