Numerous studies have focused on functional vascular changes that characterize the hypertensive state. Recent evidence that suggests that increased vascular reactivity in hypertension is due to changes in the delivery of activator Ca++ through channels in the cell membrane will be reviewed. The primary evidence supporting this hypothesis comes from studies that characterize the effects of Ca++-free solution and calcium channel blockers on contractile properties of isolated vascular smooth muscle. In the present study, experiments were performed to investigate the role of Ca++ influx in vascular contractions produced by interventions that cause membrane depolarization. Isometric tension development in helical strips of carotid arteries from stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats in response to elevated K+ and tetraethylammonium chloride was greater than that in carotid arteries from Wistar-Kyoto normotensive rats. The rate of tension development to K+-free solution in carotid arteries from stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats was faster than in Wistar-Kyoto normotensive rat arteries. Contractile responses to all 3 depolarizing interventions were reduced in arterial strips incubated in Ca++-free solution containing the chelator ethylene glycol bis-(β-aminoethyl ether) N,N,N′,N′-tetraacetic acid and in arterial strips treated with the Ca++ channel blocker verapamil. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that constrictor stimuli that produce membrane depolarization cause an opening of Ca++ channels in the plasma membrane that are sensitive to the organic channel blockers. Further, a change in Ca++ permeability or membrane depolarizing mechanisms contributes to increased contractile responsiveness in carotid arteries of stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine