Contractile responses to ouabain and K+-free solution in aorta from hypertensive rats

R. S. Moreland, T. C. Major, R. C. Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This study characterizes isometric force development in response to ouabain and K+-free solution in isolated aortic strips from spontaneously hypertensive (SHR) and Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats. SHR aortas were more sensitive to ouabain than those from WKY (threshold: SHR, 3.1 x 10-5 M; WKY, 25.6 ± 10-5 M) , and force development in response to 10-3 M ouabain was greater in SHR (SHR, 586 ± 51 mg; WKY, 245 ± 24 mg). Monensin, a Na+ ionophore, potentiated contractile responses to ouabain, whereas amiloride, a Na+ channel blocker, and low Na+ solutions depressed contractile responses to ouabain. Contractile responses of SHR aortic strips to K+-free solution were faster than those of WKY aortic strips [time to half-maximal response (t( 1/2 )): SHR, 24 ± 5 min; WKY, 47 ± 4 min]. Maximal force development by aortic strips from SHR in response to K+-free solution was not different from that of WKY aortic strips (SHR, 808 ± 34 mg; WKY, 750 ± 37 mg). Monensin (10-5 M) increased the rate of force development to K+-free solution to a greater extent in WKY aortic strips than in those from SHR (t( 1/2 ); SHR, 3 ± 1 min; WKY, 4 ± 2 min). Amiloride and low Na+ solution depressed contractile responses to K+-free solution in both SHR and WKY aortic strips. These observations demonstrate that SHR aortas are more responsive to ouabain and K+-free solution compared with WKY aortas. Contractile responses to ouabain and K+-free solution were sensitive to experimental interventions that alter transmembrane Na+ movements. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that vascular smooth muscle cells of SHR aortas have increased membrane permeability to Na+ and enhanced Na+ pump activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H612-H619
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4 (19/4)
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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