Relaxation of arterial smooth muscle by calcium sparks

M. T. Nelson, H. Cheng, M. Rubart, L. F. Santana, A. D. Bonev, H. J. Knot, W. J. Lederer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Local increases in intracellular calcium ion concentration ([Ca2+](i)) resulting from activation of the ryanodine-sensitive calcium-release channel in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) of smooth muscle cause arterial dilation. Ryanodine-sensitive, spontaneous local increases in [Ca2+](i) (Ca2+ sparks) from the SR were observed just under the surface membrane of single smooth muscle cells from myogenic cerebral arteries. Ryanodine and thapsigargin inhibited Ca2+ sparks and Ca2+-dependent potassium (K(Ca)) currents, suggesting that Ca2+ sparks activate K(Ca) channels. Furthermore, K(Ca) channels activated by Ca2+ sparks appeared to hyperpolarize and dilate pressurized myogenic arteries because ryanodine and thapsigargin depolarized and constricted these arteries to an extent similar to that produced by blockers of K(Ca) channels. Ca2+ sparks indirectly cause vasodilation through activation of K(Ca) channels, but have little direct effect on spatially averaged [Ca2+](i), which regulates contraction.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)633-637
    Number of pages4
    Issue number5236
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 1995


    • pharmacology: 3-Pyridinecarboxylic acid, 1,4-dihydro-2,6-dimethyl-5-nitro-4-(2-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl)-, Methyl ester
    • Animals
    • pharmacology: Cadmium
    • metabolism: Calcium
    • pharmacology: Calcium Channel Agonists
    • metabolism: Calcium Channels
    • metabolism: Cell Membrane
    • physiology: Cerebral Arteries
    • Membrane Potentials
    • Muscle Contraction
    • Muscle Relaxation
    • cytology: Muscle, Smooth, Vascular
    • pharmacology: Peptides
    • metabolism: Potassium Channels
    • Rats
    • pharmacology: Ryanodine
    • metabolism: Sarcoplasmic Reticulum
    • pharmacology: Terpenes
    • Thapsigargin
    • Vasodilation


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