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Biol Neonate. 1998;74(1):60-71.

Developmental changes in the calcium sensitivity of rabbit cranial arteries.

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Department of Physiology, Center for Perinatal Biology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Calif 92350, USA.


The present experiments examine developmental changes in cerebrovascular Ca2+ sensitivity. Common carotid (COM), basilar (BAS) and femoral (FA) arteries from adult (n = 16), 8- to 9-day-old (n = 15) and 24- to 25-day-old rabbits (n = 12) were denuded of the endothelium and permeabilized with beta-escin. Bath calcium concentrations were controlled via EGTA-Ca2+ buffer solutions. Adult pCa-force relations were right-shifted relative to those of 8- to 9-day-old rabbits but were similar to those of 24- to 25-day-olds. Adult pD2 (-log ED50) values for Ca2+ averaged 6.36 +/- 0.03 (COM), 6.77 +/- 0.04 (BAS) and 6.40 +/- 0.04 (FA). Corresponding 8- to 9-day-old values were 6.85 +/- 0.03, 7.08 +/- 0.08 and 6.76 +/- 0.05. In all arteries studied, the addition of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) subsequent to contraction by a constant submaximal (EC30) concentration of Ca2+ produced a dose-dependent and GDP3S-sensitive increase in tension attributable to an increase in Ca2+ sensitivity. The magnitudes of 5-HT-induced increases in Ca2+ sensitivity were significantly greatest in 8- to 9-day-old rabbits, intermediate in 24- to 25-day-old rabbits, and least in adults. GTPgammaS mimicked the effects of 5-HT and prevented further increases in Ca2+ sensitivity induced by 5-HT in all arteries from all age groups. GDPbetaS completely reversed all effects of 5-HT on Ca2+ sensitivity. From these data we conclude that baseline Ca2+ sensitivity is elevated in newborn relative to adult rabbits, at least in femoral, common carotid and basilar arteries. In these arteries, 5-HT can increase Ca2+ sensitivity via a G-protein-dependent mechanism which is more effective in neonatal than adult arteries. These effects of maturation on vascular Ca2+ sensitivity may play an important role in developmental changes in vascular reactivity.

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