Endothelium-dependent hyperpolarization (EDH)-mediated responses are impaired in hypertension, but the underlying mechanisms have not yet been determined. The activation of small- and intermediate-conductance of Ca 2+ -activated K + channels (SK Ca and IK Ca) underpins EDH-mediated responses. It was recently reported that Ca 2+ influx through endothelial transient receptor potential vanilloid type 4 channel (TRPV4) is a prerequisite for the activation of SK Ca /IK Ca in endothelial cells in specific beds. Here, we attempted to determine whether the impairment of EDH in hypertension is attributable to the dysfunction of TRPV4 and S/IK Ca, using isolated superior mesenteric arteries of 20-week-old stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRSP) and age-matched Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats. In the WKY arteries, EDH-mediated responses were reduced by a combination of SK Ca /IK Ca blockers (apamin plus TRAM-34; 1-[(2-chlorophenyl)diphenylmethl]-1H-pyrazole) and by the blockade of TRPV4 with the selective antagonist RN-1734 or HC-067047. In the SHRSP arteries, EDH-mediated hyperpolarization and relaxation were significantly impaired when compared with WKY. GSK1016790A, a selective TRPV4 activator, evoked robust hyperpolarization and relaxation in WKY arteries. In contrast, in SHRSP arteries, the GSK1016790A-evoked hyperpolarization was small and relaxation was absent. Hyperpolarization and relaxation to cyclohexyl-[2-(3,5-dimethyl-pyrazol-1-yl)-6-methyl-pyrimidin-4-yl]-amine, a selective SK Ca activator, were marginally decreased in SHRSP arteries compared with WKY arteries. The expression of endothelial TRPV4 and SK Ca protein was significantly decreased in the SHRSP mesenteric arteries compared with those of WKY, whereas function and expression of IK Ca were preserved in SHRSP arteries. These findings suggest that EDH-mediated responses are impaired in superior mesenteric arteries of SHRSP because of a reduction in both TRPV4 and SK Ca input to EDH.
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