Aim: Endothelial membrane hyperpolarization mediated by KCa3.1 and KCa2.3 channels has been demonstrated to initiate endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF)-type vasodilations. Moreover, pharmacological potentiation of KCa3.1/KCa2.3 channels has been suggested to improve EDHF-type vasodilations. Herein, we determined whether the KCa3.1/KCa2.3 activator SKA-31 and its derivative SKA-20 improve endothelial dysfunction in KCa3.1−/− and NOS3−/− mice.
Methods: Membrane potentials were measured using patch-clamp electrophysiology on carotid artery (CA) endothelial cells (CAEC) from wild-type (wt) and KCa3.1−/− mice. Endothelium-dependent vasodilations were determined by pressure myography in CA.
Results: SKA-31 (1 μm) activated KCa3.1 and KCa2.3 channels and induced membrane hyperpolarization in CAEC of wt (ΔMP −45 mV). These responses were significantly reduced in CAEC of KCa3.1−/− (ΔMP −8 mV). SKA-31 (200 nm, 500 nm) and SKA-20 (300 nm) significantly enhanced EDHF vasodilations in wt. SKA-20 also improved vasodilations during NO synthesis. In KCa3.1−/−, the defective EDHF vasodilations were unchanged at 200 nm SKA-31, but were significantly improved at 500 nm. EDHF vasodilations were slightly enhanced at 300 nm SKA-20, but vasodilations during NO synthesis were unchanged. SKA-31 (500 nm) enhanced the impaired endothelium-dependent vasodilation in NOS3−/− mice twofold. Pharmacological inhibition of the soluble epoxide hydrolase by t-AUCB (1 μm) in contrast did not increase ACh-induced EDHF- or NO-mediated vasodilations in wt and KCa3.1−/−.
Conclusion: Normal and defective endothelium-dependent vasodilations in murine carotid arteries can be improved by pharmacological enhancement of KCa3.1/KCa2.3 functions. These findings further support the concept that pharmacological activation of endothelial KCa2.3/KCa3.1 could offer a novel endothelium-specific antihypertensive strategy.