Kv2 channels oppose myogenic constriction of rat cerebral arteries

Gregory C. Amberg, Luis Fernando Santana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


By hyperpolarizing arterial smooth muscle, voltage-gated, Ca 2+-independent K+ (Kv) channels decrease calcium influx and thus oppose constriction. However, the molecular nature of the Kv channels function in arterial smooth muscle remains controversial. Recent investigations have emphasized a predominant role of Kv1 channels in regulating arterial tone. In this study, we tested the hypothesis Kv2 channels may also significantly regulate tone of rat cerebral arteries. We found that Kv2.1 transcript and protein are present in cerebral arterial smooth muscle. In addition, our analysis indicates that a substantial component (≈50%) of the voltage dependencies and kinetics of Kv currents in voltage-clamped cerebral arterial myocytes is consistent with Kv2 channels. Accordingly, we found that stromatoxin, a specific inhibitor of Kv2 channels, significantly decreased Kv currents in these cells. Furthermore, stromatoxin enhanced myogenic constriction of pressurized arterial segments. We also found that during angiotensin II-induced hypertension, Kv2 channel function was reduced in isolated myocytes and in intact arteries. This suggests that impaired Kv2 channel activity may contribute to arterial dysfunction during hypertension. On the basis of these novel observations, we propose a new model of Kv channel function in arterial smooth muscle in which Kv2 channels (in combination with Kv1 channels) contribute to membrane hyperpolarization and thus oppose constriction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Hypertension
  • Potassium channels
  • Smooth muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology


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