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BACKGROUND/AIMS: In cerebral arteries, nitric oxide (NO) release plays a key role in suppressing vasomotion. Our aim was to establish the pathways affected by NO in rat middle cerebral arteries. METHODS: In isolated segments of artery, isometric tension and simultaneous measurements of either smooth muscle membrane potential or intracellular [Ca(2+)] ([Ca(2+)](SMC)) changes were recorded. RESULTS: In the absence of L-NAME, asynchronous propagating Ca(2+) waves were recorded that were sensitive to block with ryanodine, but not nifedipine. L-NAME stimulated pronounced vasomotion and synchronous Ca(2+) oscillations with close temporal coupling between membrane potential, tone and [Ca(2+)](SMC). If nifedipine was applied together with L-NAME, [Ca(2+)](SMC) decreased and synchronous Ca(2+) oscillations were lost, but asynchronous propagating Ca(2+) waves persisted. Vasomotion was similarly evoked by either iberiotoxin, or by ryanodine, and to a lesser extent by ODQ. Exogenous application of NONOate stimulated endothelium-independent hyperpolarization and relaxation of either L-NAME-induced or spontaneous arterial tone. NO-evoked hyperpolarization involved activation of BK(Ca) channels via ryanodine receptors (RYRs), with little involvement of sGC. Further, in whole cell mode, NO inhibited current through L-type voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels (VGCC), which was independent of both voltage and sGC. CONCLUSION: NO exerts sGC-independent actions at RYRs and at VGCC, both of which normally suppress cerebral artery myogenic tone.

Original publication




Journal article


J Vasc Res

Publication Date





93 - 107


Animals, Calcium, Calcium Channel Blockers, Calcium Channels, L-Type, Calcium Signaling, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Endothelium, Vascular, Enzyme Inhibitors, Guanylate Cyclase, In Vitro Techniques, Large-Conductance Calcium-Activated Potassium Channels, Male, Membrane Potentials, Middle Cerebral Artery, Muscle, Smooth, Vascular, Nitric Oxide, Nitric Oxide Donors, Nitric Oxide Synthase, Potassium Channel Blockers, Rats, Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear, Ryanodine Receptor Calcium Release Channel, Soluble Guanylyl Cyclase, Time Factors, Vasoconstriction, Vasodilation