Large conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channels contribute to vascular function in nonpregnant human uterine arteries

Charles R. Rosenfeld, R. Ann Word, Kevin DeSpain, Xiao Tie Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Large conductance K+ channels (BKCa) are expressed in uterine artery (UA) smooth muscle from nonpregnant and pregnant sheep and contribute to the regulation of basal vascular tone and responses to estrogen and vasoconstrictors. To determine if BKCa are expressed in women and contribute to UA function, we collected UA from nonpregnant women (n = 31) at elective hysterectomy and analyzed for subunit protein, localization with immunohistochemistry, and function using endothelium-denuded rings. UA expresses BKCa α -, β1- and β2-subunit protein. KCl and phenylephrine (PE, an α1-agonist) caused dose-dependent vasoconstriction (P <.001), and UA precontracted with PE dose-dependently relaxed with sodium nitroprusside (SNP; P <.001).Tetraethylammonium chloride (TEA, 0.2-1.0 mM), a BKCa inhibitor, dose-dependently increased resting tone (P =.004; 28% ± 5.3% with 1.0 mM), enhanced PE-induced (10-6 M) vasoconstriction (P < .04), and attenuated SNP-induced relaxation at 1.0 mM (P =.02). BKCa are expressed in human UA and modulate vascular function by attenuating vasoconstrictor responses and contributing to nitric oxide-induced vasorelaxation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)651-660
Number of pages10
JournalReproductive Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Basal tone
  • Myometrium
  • Nitric oxide
  • α-agonists
  • β1/β2- regulatory subunits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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