Properties of smooth muscle hyperpolarization and relaxation to K+ in the rat isolated mesenteric artery.
Dora KA., Garland CJ.
Smooth muscle membrane potential and tension in rat isolated small mesenteric arteries (inner diameter 100-200 microm) were measured simultaneously to investigate whether the intensity of smooth muscle stimulation and the endothelium influence responses to exogenous K+. Variable smooth muscle depolarization and contraction were stimulated by titration with 0.1-10 microM phenylephrine. Raising external K+ to 10.8 mM evoked correlated, sustained hyperpolarization and relaxation, both of which were inhibited as the smooth muscle depolarized and contracted to around -38 mV and 10 mN, respectively. At these higher levels of stimulation, raising the K+ concentration to 13.8 mM still hyperpolarized and relaxed the smooth muscle. Relaxation to endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor, released by ACh, was not altered by the level of stimulation. In endothelium-denuded arteries, the concentration-relaxation curve to K+ was shifted to the right but was not depressed. In denuded arteries, relaxation to K+ was unaffected by the extent of prior stimulation and was blocked with 0.1 mM ouabain but not with 30 microM Ba2+. The ability of K+ to stimulate simultaneous hyperpolarization and relaxation in the mesenteric artery is consistent with a role as an endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor activating inwardly rectifying K+ channels on the endothelium and Na+-K+-ATPase on the smooth muscle cells.