Gender-specific K(+)-channel contribution to adenosine-induced relaxation in coronary arterioles.
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We examined the contribution of K(+)-channel activity on basal tone and adenosine-mediated relaxation of coronary arterioles isolated from sexually mature male and female miniature swine. Arterioles (approximately 100-200 microm ID) isolated from the apical region of the heart were cannulated and studied using videodimensional analysis under constant intraluminal pressure. Coronary arterioles from male and female pigs demonstrated similar levels of basal tone and reductions in basal diameter in response to the K(+)-channel blockers 4-aminopyridine (4-AP; 1 mM), tetraethylammonium (1 mM), and glibenclamide (Glib; 10 microM), with 4-AP producing significantly greater constriction than tetraethylammonium or Glib. After endothelin-induced preconstriction, relaxation responses to adenosine were not significantly different between coronary arterioles of male and female pigs. Inhibition of 4-AP-sensitive channels significantly impaired adenosine-mediated relaxation in arterioles from male but not female pigs. However, inhibition of K(+) channels with iberiotoxin (100 nM) or Glib had no effect on adenosine-induced relaxation in either sex. Results obtained in the presence of nitric oxide synthase inhibition suggest a potential interaction of 4-AP-sensitive channels and nitric oxide at low adenosine concentrations. In conclusion, our data indicate that 4-AP-sensitive channels 1) contribute significantly to basal tone in coronary arterioles of both male and female pigs, 2) contribute to adenosine-mediated relaxation in male but not female pigs, and 3) can contribute to adenosine-induced relaxation independent of nitric oxide production in male pigs. These data are consistent with a significant role for voltage-dependent K(+) channels in adenosine-mediated relaxation of coronary arterioles from males.