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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Sep 17;93(19):10489-94.

NO hyperpolarizes pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells and decreases the intracellular Ca2+ concentration by activating voltage-gated K+ channels.

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1
Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA. xyuan@umabnet.ab.umd.edu

Abstract

NO causes pulmonary vasodilation in patients with pulmonary hypertension. In pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells, the activity of voltage-gated K+ (Kv) channels controls resting membrane potential. In turn, membrane potential is an important regulator of the intracellular free calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) and pulmonary vascular tone. We used patch clamp methods to determine whether the NO-induced pulmonary vasodilation is mediated by activation of Kv channels. Quantitative fluorescence microscopy was employed to test the effect of NO on the depolarization-induced rise in [Ca2+]i. Blockade of Kv channels by 4-aminopyridine (5 mM) depolarized pulmonary artery myocytes to threshold for initiation of Ca2+ action potentials, and thereby increased [Ca2+]i. NO (approximately 3 microM) and the NO-generating compound sodium nitroprusside (5-10 microM) opened Kv channels in rat pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells. The enhanced K+ currents then hyperpolarized the cells, and blocked Ca(2+)-dependent action potentials, thereby preventing the evoked increases in [Ca2+]i. Nitroprusside also increased the probability of Kv channel opening in excised, outside-out membrane patches. This raises the possibility that NO may act either directly on the channel protein or on a closely associated molecule rather than via soluble guanylate cyclase. In isolated pulmonary arteries, 4-aminopyridine significantly inhibited NO-induced relaxation. We conclude that NO promotes the opening of Kv channels in pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells. The resulting membrane hyperpolarization, which lowers [Ca2+]i, is apparently one of the mechanisms by which NO induces pulmonary vasodilation.

PMID:
8816828
PMCID:
PMC38412
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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