The role of voltage-gated potassium channels in the regulation of mouse uterine contractility

The role of voltage-gated potassium channels in the regulation of mouse uterine contractility

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Uterine smooth muscle cells exhibit ionic currents that appear to be important in the control of uterine contractility, but how these currents might produce the changes in contractile activity seen in pregnant myometrium has not been established. There are conflicting reports concerning the role of voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channels and large-conductance, calcium-activated potassium (BK) channels in the regulation of uterine contractility. In this study we provide molecular and functional evidence for a role for Kv channels in the regulation of spontaneous contractile activity in mouse myometrium, and also demonstrate a change in Kv channel regulation of contractility in pregnant mouse myometrium. Methods Functional assays which evaluated the effects of channel blockers and various contractile agonists were accomplished by quantifying contractility of isolated uterine smooth muscle obtained from nonpregnant mice as well as mice at various stages of pregnancy. Expression of Kv channel proteins in isolated uterine smooth muscle was evaluated by Western blots. Results The Kv channel blocker 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) caused contractions in nonpregnant mouse myometrium (EC50 = 54 micromolar, maximal effect at 300 micromolar) but this effect disappeared in pregnant mice; similarly, the Kv4.2/Kv4.3 blocker phrixotoxin-2 caused contractions in nonpregnant, but not pregnant, myometrium. Contractile responses to 4-AP were not dependent upon nerves, as neither tetrodotoxin nor storage of tissues at room temperature significantly altered these responses, nor were responses dependent upon the presence of the endometrium. Spontaneous contractions and contractions in response to 4-AP did not appear to be mediated by BK, as the BK channel-selective blockers iberiotoxin, verruculogen, or tetraethylammonium failed to affect either spontaneous contractions or 4-AP-elicited responses. A number of different Kv channel alpha subunit proteins were found in isolated myometrium from both nonpregnant and term-pregnant mice, and one of these proteins – Kv4.3 – was found to disappear in term-pregnant tissues. Conclusion These findings suggest a role for Kv channels in the regulation of uterine contractility, and that changes in the expression and/or function of specific Kv channels may account for the functional changes seen in pregnant myometrium.

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Ajouté le 01 janvier 2007
Nombre de lectures 12
Langue English
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Research Open Access The role of voltage-gated potassiu m channels in the regulation of mouse uterine contractility Ryan C Smith, Marisa C McClure, Mar garet A Smith, Peter W Abel and Michael E Bradley*
Bio Med  Central
Published: 2 November 2007 Received: 21 May 2007 Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 2007, 5 :41 doi:10.1186/1477-7827-5-41 Accepted: 2 November 2007 This article is available from: http://www.rbej.com/content/5/1/41 © 2007 Smith et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons. org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the orig inal work is properly cited.
Address: Department of Pharmaco logy, Creighton University Medical Center, Omaha, USA, NE 68178 Email: Ryan C Smith - rcsmith@creighton.e du; Marisa C McClure - mmclure@unmc.edu; Margaret A Smith - maggiesmith10@aol.com; Peter W Abel - pabel@creighton.edu; Michael E Bradley* - mebradley11@yahoo.com * Corresponding author
Abstract Background: Uterine smooth muscle cells exhibit ionic currents that appear to be important in the control of uterine contractility, but how these currents might produce the changes in contractile activity seen in preg nant myometrium has not been es tablished. There are conflicting reports concerning the role of voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channels and large-conductance, calcium-activated potassium (BK) channels in the regulation of uterine contractility. In this study we provide molecular and functional evidence fo r a role for Kv channels in the regulation of spontaneous contractile activity in mouse myom etrium, and also demonstrate a change in Kv channel regulation of contractili ty in pregnant mouse myometrium. Methods: Functional assays which evaluated the effects of channel blockers and various contractile agonists were accomplished by qua ntifying contractility of isolated uterine smooth muscle obtained from nonpregnant mice as well as mice at vari ous stages of pregnancy. Expression of Kv channel proteins in isolated uterine smooth muscle was evaluated by Western blots. Results: The Kv channel blocker 4-aminopyridine (4 -AP) caused contractions in nonpregnant mouse myometrium (EC50 = 54 micromolar, maxi mal effect at 300 micromolar) but this effect disappeared in pregnant mice; similarly, the Kv4. 2/Kv4.3 blocker phrixotoxin-2 caused contractions in nonpregnant, but not pregnant, myometrium . Contractile responses to 4-AP were not dependent upon nerves, as neither tetrodotoxin nor storage of tissues at room temperature significantly altered these responses, nor were responses dependent upon the presence of the endometrium. Spontaneous contractions and contra ctions in response to 4-AP did not appear to be mediated by BK, as the BK channel-sele ctive blockers iberiotoxin, verruculogen, or tetraethylammonium failed to affect either spontaneous contra ctions or 4-AP-elicited responses. A number of different Kv channel alpha subunit pr oteins were found in isolated myometrium from both nonpregnant and term-pregnant mice, and one of these proteins – Kv4.3 – was found to disappear in term-pregnant tissues. Conclusion: These findings suggest a role for Kv channels in the regulation of uterine contractility, and that changes in the expression and/or functi on of specific Kv channels may account for the functional changes seen in pregnant myometrium.