Hyperpolarization of vascular muscle in response to activation of potassium channels is a major mechanism of vasodilatation. In cerebral blood vessels, four different potassium channels have been described: ATP-sensitive potassium channels, calcium-activated potassium channels, delayed rectifier potassium channels, and inward rectifier potassium channels. Summary of ReviewActivation of ATP-sensitive and calcium-activated potassium channels appears to play a major role in relaxation of cerebral arteries and arterioles in response to diverse stimuli, including receptor-mediated agonists, intracellular second messengers, and hypoxia. Both calcium-activated and delayed rectifier potassium channels may contribute to a negative feedback system that regulates tone in large cerebral arteries. The influence of ATP-sensitive and calcium-activated potassium channels is altered in disease states such as hypertension, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. ConclusionsActivation of potassium channels is a major mechanism of cerebral vasodilatation. Alteration of activity of potassium channels and impairment of vasodilatation may contribute to the development or maintenance of cerebral ischemia or vasospasm.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Advanced and Specialised Nursing