[$Ca^{2+}$ Sensitization Mechanism in Stretch-induced Myogenic Tone

  • Kim, Jung-Sup (Departments of Physiology, College of Medicine, Yonsei University) ;
  • Ryu, Sung-Kyung (Departments of Physiology, College of Medicine, Yonsei University) ;
  • Ahn, Duck-Sun (Departments of Physiology, College of Medicine, Yonsei University) ;
  • Kang, Bok-Soon (Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Pochon CHA University) ;
  • Lee, Young-Ho (Departments of Physiology, College of Medicine, BK 21 Project for Medical Science, Yonsei University)
  • Published : 2002.02.21


It has been suggested that $Ca^{2+}$ sensitization mechanisms might contribute to myogenic tone, however, specific mechanisms have not yet been fully identified. Therefore, we investigated the role of protein kinase C (PKC)- or RhoA-induced $Ca^{2+}$ sensitization in myogenic tone of the rabbit basilar vessel. Myogenic tone was developed by stretch of rabbit basilar artery. Fura-2 $Ca^{2+}$ signals, contractile responses, PKC immunoblots, translocation of PKC and RhoA, and phosphorylation of myosin light chains were measured. Stretch of the resting vessel evoked a myogenic contraction and an increase in the intracellular $Ca^{2+}$ concentration $([Ca^{2+}]_i)$ only in the presence of extracellular $Ca^{2+}$. Stretch evoked greater contraction than high $K^+$ at a given $[Ca^{2+}]_i.$ The stretch-induced increase in $[Ca^{2+}]_i$ and contractile force were inhibited by treatment of the tissue with nifedipine, a blocker of voltage-dependent $Ca^{2+}$ channel, but not with gadolinium, a blocker of stretch-activated cation channels. The PKC inhibitors, H-7 and calphostin C, and a RhoA-activated protein kinase (ROK) inhibitor, Y-27632, inhibited the stretch-induced myogenic tone without changing $[Ca^{2+}]_i.$ Immunoblotting using isoform-specific antibodies showed the presence of $PKC_{\alpha}$ and $PKC_{\varepsilon}$ in the rabbit basilar artery. $PKC_{\alpha},$ but not $PKC_{\varepsilon},$ and RhoA were translocated from the cytosol to the cell membrane by stretch. Phosphorylation of the myosin light chains was increased by stretch and the increased phosphorylation was blocked by treatment of the tissue with H-7 and Y-27632, respectively. Our results are consistent with important roles for PKC and RhoA in the generation of myogenic tone. Furthermore, enhanced phosphorylation of the myosin light chains by activation of $PKC_{\alpha}$ and/or RhoA may be key mechanisms for the $Ca^{2+}$ sensitization associated with myogenic tone in basilar vessels.


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