Send to

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

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

Author information

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


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]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center