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Cell Motil. 1983;3(5-6):545-51.

Effect of cytochalasin D on smooth muscle contraction.


Cylindrical segments of extraparenchymal pulmonary artery (essentially a preparation of smooth muscle with regard to contractile capability) were isolated from adult male rats. They were mounted in an isometric muscle bath in physiological salt solution (PSS) in an environment of 95% O2/5% CO2. After allowing 1 h for equilibration, the maximum force generated by the tissue in response to a depolarizing solution was determined. After relaxation, vessels were incubated for 1 h in one of several concentrations of cytochalasin D (CD) (0.01, 0.05, 0.5, 1, 10 micrograms/ml) and the response to stimulation retested immediately after returning to PSS, and then at 30 minute intervals up to 2 h. CD inhibited the ability of vascular smooth muscle to generate force (contract) in a concentration-dependent manner. The inhibitory effect was reversible within a short period of time. Quantitative electron microscopic examination of these vessels suggested that CD disrupts the integrity of myofilaments, especially at sites of "dense bodies." Our results indicate that a percentage of actin in smooth muscle cells is not permanently in the filamentous "F" form, but is part of the G:F actin system of the cell, labile to polymerization:depolymerization. The ability of smooth muscle cells to generate force could depend on the proper functioning of the F:G actin "treadmill."

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