Possible role for K+ in endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor-linked dilatation in rat middle cerebral artery.
McNeish AJ., Dora KA., Garland CJ.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF) and K+ are vasodilators in the cerebral circulation. Recently, K+ has been suggested to contribute to EDHF-mediated responses in peripheral vessels. The EDHF response to the protease-activated receptor 2 ligand SLIGRL was characterized in cerebral arteries and used to assess whether K+ contributes as an EDHF. METHODS: Rat middle cerebral arteries were mounted in either a wire or pressure myograph. Concentration-response curves to SLIGRL and K+ were constructed in the presence and absence of a variety of blocking agents. In some experiments, changes in tension and smooth muscle cell membrane potential were recorded simultaneously. RESULTS: SLIGRL (0.02 to 20 micromol/L) stimulated concentration and endothelium-dependent relaxation. In the presence of NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester, relaxation to SLIGRL was associated with hyperpolarization and sensitivity to a specific inhibitor of IKCa, 1-[(2-chlorophenyl)diphenylmethyl]-1H-pyrazole (1 micromol/L), reflecting activation of EDHF. Combined inhibition of KIR with Ba2+ (30 micromol/L) and Na+/K+-ATPase with ouabain (1 micromol/L) markedly attenuated the relaxation to EDHF. Raising extracellular [K+] to 15 mmol/L also stimulated smooth muscle relaxation and hyperpolarization, which was also attenuated by combined application of Ba2+ and ouabain. CONCLUSIONS: SLIGRL evokes EDHF-mediated relaxation in the rat middle cerebral artery, underpinned by hyperpolarization of the smooth muscle. The profile of blockade of EDHF-mediated hyperpolarization and relaxation supports a pivotal role for IKCa channels. Furthermore, similar inhibition of responses to EDHF and exogenous K+ with Ba2+ and ouabain suggests that K+ may contribute as an EDHF in the middle cerebral artery.