Cardiovascular research

Non-neurogenic contractions in isolated coronary arteries by brief electrical pulses.

PMID 7867038


The aim was to describe a novel form of non-neurogenic coronary artery contraction. Superfused cattle coronary artery preparations in vitro were placed between platinum electrodes and stimulated. The preparations responded to exceedingly brief transmural stimulation (a single ten thousandth of a second pulse) with long lasting [150(SEM 18.5) s] contractions. These previously undescribed contractions were not reduced by neural blockade nor did they involve free radicals, prostaglandins, or the endothelium. In contrast to the rapid loss of responses to KCl in zero calcium Krebs solution, responses to stimulation were only progressively diminished over many minutes, suggesting involvement of internal calcium stores. The L channel calcium antagonists nifedipine and diltiazem markedly reduced contractions to KCl but did not materially alter those to 1, 5, or 10 stimulation pulses, nor did the T channel antagonist tetramethrin, further supporting the involvement of stored calcium in contractions to stimulation. Evidence was obtained that neither Na+/K(+)-ATPase nor the Na+/Ca+ exchanger are involved in the contractions to stimulation. Ryanodine in zero calcium Krebs solution potentiated contractions to stimulation with 10 pulses and also to endothelin, but depressed contractions to U 46619. Stimulation at excitation parameters well below those associated with neurotransmitter release activates a highly effective contraction sequence that may use a ryanodine insensitive pool of bound calcium. This novel process may have physiological and pathophysiological relevance and provides a means of activating contraction in a coronary artery and studying its time course and contributory components, without the complicating participation of an agonist drug.

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Tetramethrin, PESTANAL®, analytical standard