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Circ Res. 1998 Nov 2;83(9):932-9.

Epoxyeicosatrienoic acids and dihydroxyeicosatrienoic acids are potent vasodilators in the canine coronary microcirculation.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.


Cytochrome P450 epoxygenases convert arachidonic acid into 4 epoxyeicosatrienoic acid (EET) regioisomers, which were recently identified as endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factors in coronary blood vessels. Both EETs and their dihydroxyeicosatrienoic acid (DHET) metabolites have been shown to relax conduit coronary arteries at micromolar concentrations, whereas the plasma concentrations of EETs are in the nanomolar range. However, the effects of EETs and DHETs on coronary resistance arterioles have not been examined. We administered EETs and DHETs to isolated canine coronary arterioles (diameter, 90.0+/-3.4 microm; distending pressure, 20 mm Hg) preconstricted by 30% to 60% of the resting diameter with endothelin. All 4 EET regioisomers produced potent, concentration-dependent vasodilation (EC50 values ranging from -12.7 to -10.1 log [M]) and were approximately 1000 times more potent than reported in conduit coronary arteries. The vasodilation produced by 14,15-EET was not attenuated by removal of the endothelium and indicated a direct action of 14,15-EET on microvascular smooth muscle. Likewise, 14,15-DHET, 11,12-DHET, 8,9-DHET, and the delta-lactone of 5,6-EET produced extremely potent vasodilation (EC50 values ranging from -15.8 to -13.1 log [M]). The vasodilation produced by these eicosanoids was highly potent in comparison to that produced by other vasodilators, including arachidonic acid (EC50=-7.5 log [M]). The epoxide hydrolase inhibitor, 4-phenylchalone oxide, which blocked the conversion of [3H]14,15-EET to [3H]14,15-DHET by canine coronary arteries, did not alter arteriolar dilation to 11,12-EET; thus, the potent vasodilation induced by EETs does not require formation of DHETs. In contrast, charybdotoxin (a KCa channel inhibitor) and KCl (a depolarizing agent) blocked vasodilation by 11,12-EET and 11,12-DHET. We conclude that EETs and DHETs potently dilate canine coronary arterioles via activation of KCa channels. The preferential ability of these compounds to dilate resistance blood vessels suggests that they may be important regulators of coronary circulation.

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