Regional differences in the vasorelaxing effects of testosterone and its 5-reduced metabolites in the canine vasculature.
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Although the vasorelaxing effects of testosterone (T) and various androgen metabolites have been observed in a variety of blood vessels and species, previous studies have not systematically compared the vasorelaxing effects of androgen metabolites in different vascular beds within the same species. Therefore, we studied the vasorelaxing effects of T and its 5-reduced metabolites (5- and 5-DHT) on KCl-induced contractions of the canine left coronary artery, femoral artery and saphenous vein, using standard isometric recordings. KCl contractions were inhibited by each androgen in a concentration-dependent manner from 1.8 to 310M. Vascular sensitivity and efficacy were expressed as inhibitory concentration 50 (IC) and maximal relaxation (R(max)), respectively. The coronary artery was significantly more sensitive to androgen-induced vasorelaxation than the saphenous vein or femoral artery. These vasorelaxing responses were unaffected by an antiandrogen (Flutamide) or the sulfhydryl reagent, N-ethylmaleimide, suggesting a nongenomic mechanism independent of signaling mediated by the androgen receptor or G proteins. Concentration-response curves were unchanged in endothelium-denuded preparations; thus, the endothelium appears to have no role in androgen-induced vasorelaxation. 5-DHT was the most potent androgen in both coronary and femoral artery, but all three androgens were equipotent in the saphenous vein. It is concluded that: 1) significant regional differences exist in vasorelaxing effects of androgen metabolites in the canine vasculature; 2) structural differences in these androgens determine their vasorelaxing efficacy; and 3) regional differences in androgen-induced vasorelaxation may account for some of the conflicting findings reported on the vasorelaxing effects of the androgens.