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Br J Pharmacol. 1984 Mar;81(3):499-507.

Antagonism of Ca2+ and other actions of verapamil in guinea-pig isolated trachealis.


In trachealis bathed by a K+-rich, Ca2+-free physiological salt solution, calcium chloride (CaCl2) at 0.01 to 10 mmol l-1 evoked concentration-dependent spasm. Verapamil (0.1 to 10 mumol l-1) was an effective antagonist of CaCl2. Spasm evoked by acetylcholine, histamine, potassium chloride (KCl) and tetraethylammonium (TEA) was studied in trachealis bathed by normal Krebs solution. Verapamil (0.1 to 10 mumol l-1) markedly suppressed spasm evoked by KCl and TEA. In contrast the actions of acetylcholine and histamine were much less affected by verapamil. Spasm evoked by prostaglandin E2 was studied in trachealis bathed by Krebs solution containing indomethacin (2.8 mumol l-1). Verapamil (0.1 to 10 mumol l-1) had little or no effect against prostaglandin E2-induced spasm. Verapamil (0.1 to 10 mumol l-1) had relatively little effect on the tone of trachealis bathed by normal Krebs solution. In contrast bathing in Krebs solution lacking CaCl2 caused almost complete tone loss. Extracellular electrophysiological recording showed that verapamil (10 mumol l-1) suppressed not only TEA-evoked spasm but also TEA-evoked slow waves and spike potentials. Verapamil also abolished the transient period of slow wave activity associated with the spasm evoked by KCl. Intracellular electrophysiological recording showed that TEA-induced spike activity was resistant to tetrodotoxin (3 mumol l-1). However, verapamil (10 mumol l-1) abolished the tetrodotoxin-resistant spikes without increasing the resting membrane potential. It is concluded that verapamil suppresses TEA- or KCl-induced spasm, slow waves or spikes by inhibition of Ca2+ influx. Spasm evoked by acetylcholine, histamine and prostaglandin E2 depends on mechanisms for increasing the cytoplasmic concentration of free Ca2+ which are resistant to verapamil. The failure of verapamil markedly to depress tissue tone is consistent with the proposal that tone results from the activity of endogenous prostaglandins.

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