The roles of potassium channels in contractile response to urotensin-II in mercury chloride induced endothelial dysfunction in rat aorta

Document Type : Full paper (Original article)


Department of Biology, College of Science, Salahaddin University, Erbil, Iraq


Urotensin-II (U-II), the most potent vasoconstrictor that has recently been recognized as a new candidate in cardiovascular dysfunction, might exert vasoconstriction through, at least partially, potassium channels that are predominant in both endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). The present study was designed to evaluate the roles of potassium channels in vascular responses to U-II in intact and mercury induced endothelial dysfunction in rat aorta. The study involved pre-incubation of rat aortic rings with potassium channels blockers: charybdotoxin (chtx), tetraethylammonium (TEA), barium chloride (BaCl2), glibenclamide, 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) and clotrimazole. Then vascular responses to increased concentrations of human U-II (hU-II) were applied to each group in the presence and absence of mercury chloride (HgCl2). Urotensin-II efficacy was significantly increased in chtx, TEA and BaCl2 treated groups, while significantly decreased in glibenclamide and clotrimazole treated groups as compared with the control group. In the presence of mercury, hU-II efficacy was significantly changed in all groups except clotrimazole treated group. The novel findings were that potassium channels modulated the vascular contractile responses to hU-II in isolated rat aorta and mercury treatment increased hU-II efficacy and deteriorated potassium signaling.


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