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Am J Physiol. 1995 Apr;268(4 Pt 1):C799-822.

Physiological roles and properties of potassium channels in arterial smooth muscle.

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1
Department of Pharmacology, University of Vermont, Colchester 05446, USA.

Abstract

This review examines the properties and roles of the four types of K+ channels that have been identified in the cell membrane of arterial smooth muscle cells. 1) Voltage-dependent K+ (KV) channels increase their activity with membrane depolarization and are important regulators of smooth muscle membrane potential in response to depolarizing stimuli. 2) Ca(2+)-activated K+ (KCa) channels respond to changes in intracellular Ca2+ to regulate membrane potential and play an important role in the control of myogenic tone in small arteries. 3) Inward rectifier K+ (KIR) channels regulate membrane potential in smooth muscle cells from several types of resistance arteries and may be responsible for external K(+)-induced dilations. 4) ATP-sensitive K+ (KATP) channels respond to changes in cellular metabolism and are targets of a variety of vasodilating stimuli. The main conclusions of this review are: 1) regulation of arterial smooth muscle membrane potential through activation or inhibition of K+ channel activity provides an important mechanism to dilate or constrict arteries; 2) KV, KCa, KIR, and KATP channels serve unique functions in the regulation of arterial smooth muscle membrane potential; and 3) K+ channels integrate a variety of vasoactive signals to dilate or constrict arteries through regulation of the membrane potential in arterial smooth muscle.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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