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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2014 Mar 1;306(5):H667-73. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00643.2013. Epub 2014 Jan 10.

Endothelin-1-induced vasoconstriction does not require intracellular Ca²⁺ waves in arteries from rats exposed to intermittent hypoxia.

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Vascular Physiology Group, Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico.


Sleep apnea is associated with cardiovascular disease, and patients with sleep apnea have elevated plasma endothelin (ET)-1 concentrations. Rats exposed to intermittent hypoxia (IH), a model of sleep apnea, also have increased plasma ET-1 concentrations and heightened constriction to ET-1 in mesenteric arteries without an increase in global vascular smooth muscle cell Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)]). Because ET-1 has been shown to increase the occurrence of propagating Ca(2+) waves, we hypothesized that ET-1 increases Ca(2+) wave activity in mesenteric arteries, rather than global [Ca(2+)], to mediate enhanced vasoconstriction after IH exposure. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to sham or IH conditions for 7 h/day for 2 wk. Mesenteric arteries from sham- and IH-exposed rats were isolated, cannulated, and pressurized to 75 mmHg to measure ET-1-induced constriction as well as changes in global [Ca(2+)] and Ca(2+) wave activity. A low concentration of ET-1 (1 nM) elicited similar vasoconstriction and global Ca(2+) responses in the two groups. Conversely, ET-1 had no effect on Ca(2+) wave activity in arteries from sham rats but significantly increased wave frequency in arteries from IH-exposed rats. The ET-1-induced increase in Ca(2+) wave frequency in arteries from IH rats was dependent on phospholipase C and inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor activation, yet inhibition of phospholipase C and the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor did not prevent ET-1-mediated vasoconstriction. These results suggest that although ET-1 elevates Ca(2+) wave activity after IH exposure, increases in wave activity are not associated with increased vasoconstriction.


Ca2+ oscillations; endothelin-1; intermittent hypoxia

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