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The relative functional importance of potassium channels and cGMP-dependent pathways in the relaxation of vascular smooth muscle to the novel nitric oxide donor, diethylamine NONOate (DEA NONOate), was investigated in a resistance artery. The contribution from cGMP-dependent signalling pathways was examined by exposing arteries to 1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one (ODQ), a selective inhibitor of soluble guanylyl cyclase, while the contribution through potassium channels was assessed with different sub-type-selective potassium channel blockers. DEA NONOate (3 nM-10 microM) evoked sustained relaxation in isolated segments of the rat small mesenteric artery contracted with phenylephrine (pEC50=6.7+/-0.2; n=11). The relaxation was attenuated significantly by either ODQ (10 microM; pEC50=5.8+/-0.4; n=7) or charybdotoxin (ChTX; 50 nM; pEC50=6.3+/-0.2; n=4), a peptide blocker of large conductance, calcium-activated potassium channels (BK(Ca)). The inhibitory effects of ODQ and ChTX were additive (pEC50=5.1+/-0.4; n=9). The selective inhibitor of BK(Ca) channels, iberiotoxin (IbTX; 30 nM), and 4-aminopyridine (4-AP; 1 mM), an inhibitor of voltage-gated potassium channels (Kv), failed to modify DEA NONOate-evoked relaxation. However, in the combined presence of both ODQ and either IbTX or 4-AP the relaxation was attenuated significantly (n=3). The blocker of ATP-modulated potassium channels (K(ATP)), glibenclamide (10 microM), and of small conductance calcium-activated potassium channels (SK(Ca)), apamin (30 nM), each failed to affect ODQ-sensitive or -resistant relaxations to DEA NONOate (n=3). In conclusion, relaxation to DEA NONOate in the rat isolated, small mesenteric artery can occur via both cGMP-dependent (ODQ-sensitive) and -independent (ODQ-resistant) mechanisms. However, the contribution made to relaxation by potassium channels appears to be unmasked following pharmacological attenuation of cGMP-dependent signalling pathways. The inhibitory action of ChTX suggests part of the cGMP-insensitive component involves the activation of potassium channels, a suggestion supported by the inhibitory actions of 4-AP and IbTX in the absence of cGMP.


Journal article


Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol

Publication Date





220 - 225


Analysis of Variance, Animals, Cyclic GMP, Hydrazines, Male, Mesenteric Arteries, Muscle, Smooth, Vascular, Nitric Oxide Donors, Nitrogen Oxides, Potassium Channels, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Vasoconstriction, Vasodilator Agents