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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

Print version ISSN 0100-879XOn-line version ISSN 1414-431X

Abstract

Calcium handling by vascular myocytes in hypertension. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 1997, vol.30, n.3, pp.315-323. ISSN 1414-431X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-879X1997000300004.

Calcium ions (Ca2+) trigger the contraction of vascular myocytes and the level of free intracellular Ca2+ within the myocyte is precisely regulated by sequestration and extrusion mechanisms. Extensive evidence indicates that a defect in the regulation of intracellular Ca2+ plays a role in the augmented vascular reactivity characteristic of clinical and experimental hypertension. For example, arteries from spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) have an increased contractile sensitivity to extracellular Ca2+ and intracellular Ca2+ levels are elevated in aortic smooth muscle cells of SHR. We hypothesize that these changes are due to an increase in membrane Ca2+ channel density and possibly function in vascular myocytes from hypertensive animals. Several observations using various experimental approaches support this hypothesis: 1) the contractile activity in response to depolarizing stimuli is increased in arteries from hypertensive animals demonstrating increased voltage-dependent Ca2+ channel activity in hypertension; 2) Ca2+ channel agonists such as Bay K 8644 produce contractions in isolated arterial segments from hypertensive rats and minimal contraction in those from normotensive rats; 3) intracellular Ca2+ concentration is abnormally increased in vascular myocytes from hypertensive animals following treatment with Ca2+ channel agonists and depolarizing interventions, and 4) using the voltage-clamp technique, the inward Ca2+ current in arterial myocytes from hypertensive rats is nearly twice as large as that from myocytes of normotensive rats. We suggest that an alteration in Ca2+ channel function and/or an increase in Ca2+ channel density, resulting from increased channel synthesis or reduced turnover, underlies the increased vascular reactivity characteristic of hypertension

Keywords : vascular smooth muscle; hypertension; calcium; voltage-operated calcium channels; vascular reactivity; Bay K 8644.

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