Role of calcium-sensitive K+ channels and nitric oxide in in vivo coronary vasodilation from enhanced perfusion pulsatility

Nazareno Paolocci, Pasquale Pagliaro, Takayoshi Isoda, Federico W. Saavedra, David A. Kass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background - In vitro studies support K+Ca channel-induced smooth muscle hyperpolarization as underlying acetylcholine-mediated (or bradykinin-mediated) vasodilation that persists despite combined nitric oxide (NO) and PGI2 inhibition. We tested the hypothesis that these channels are activated by enhanced pulsatile perfusion in vivo and contribute substantially to vasodilation from this stimulus. Methods and Results - The canine left descending coronary artery was perfused with whole blood at constant mean pressure, and physiological flow pulsatility was set at 40 or 100 mm Hg by computer servo-pump. Cyclooxygenase was inhibited by indomethacin. Mean flow increased +18±2% (P<0.0001) with enhanced pulsatility. This response declined ≈50% by blocking NO synthase (L-NMMA) or K+Ca [charybdotoxin (CbTX)+apamin (AP)]. Combining both inhibitors virtually eliminated the flow rise. Inhibiting either or both pathways minimally altered basal coronary flow, whereas agonist-stimulated flow was blocked. Bradykinin-induced dilation declined more with CbTX+AP than with L-NMMA (-66% versus -46%, P=0.03) and was fully blocked by their combination. In contrast, acetylcholine-induced dilation was more blunted by L-NMMA than by CbTX+AP (-71% versus -44%, P<0.002) and was not fully prevented by the combination. Substituting iberiotoxin (IbTX) for CbTX greatly diminished inhibition of pulse pressure and agonist flow responses (with or without NOS inhibition). Furthermore, blockade by IbTX+AP was identical to that by AP alone, supporting a minimal role of IbTX-sensitive large-conductance K+Ca channels. Conclusions - K+Ca activation and NO comodulate in vivo pulsatility-stimulated coronary flow, supporting an important role of a hyperpolarization pathway in enhanced mechanovascular signaling. Small- and intermediate-conductance K+Ca channels are the dominant species involved in modulating both pulse pressure- and bradykinin-induced in vivo coronary dilation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-124
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 9 2001


  • Bradykinin
  • Circulation
  • Endothelium-derived factors
  • Ion channels
  • Nitric oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Role of calcium-sensitive K+ channels and nitric oxide in in vivo coronary vasodilation from enhanced perfusion pulsatility'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this