Ca2+ influx mediates enhanced alpha2-adrenergic contraction in aortas from rats treated with NOS inhibitor. Academic Article uri icon


  • Previously, we reported that aortic segments from rats made hypertensive with the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor N(omega)-nitro-L-arginine (L-NNA) exhibit enhanced contractile sensitivity to both alpha2-adrenergic receptor (alpha2-AR) stimulation and to KCl-induced depolarization. We hypothesized that increased contractile responses to these agents was due to a change in the common effector L-type voltage-dependent calcium channel (VDCC). In aortic segments from control and L-NNA-treated rats, contraction to the alpha2-AR agonist UK-14304 stimulated Ca2+ influx but released intracellular Ca2+ only in control arteries. UK-14304-induced contraction was blocked by the VDCC antagonist nifedipine in both control and L-NNA aortas but contraction of aortas from L-NNA-treated rats was blocked by lower concentrations. Calcium imaging studies in fura 2-loaded freshly isolated aortic vascular smooth muscle cells also demonstrated UK-14304-stimulated Ca2+ influx sensitive to nifedipine only in cells from L-NNA-treated rats. We conclude that alpha2-AR contraction in the rat aorta is mediated primarily by Ca2+ influx and that L-NNA-induced hypertension increases the dependence of this contraction on VDCCs.

publication date

  • November 2001