Sex differences in extracellular and intracellular calcium-mediated vascular reactivity to vasopressin in rat aorta. Academic Article uri icon


  • In rat thoracic aorta, contractile responses to arginine vasopressin are two-fold higher in females than in males. To determine the roles of extracellular and intracellular Ca2+ in this sexual dimorphism in vascular function, vascular reactivity and Ca2+ channel function were examined in thoracic aortae of male and female rats. In the presence of diltiazem (10 microM), maximal contraction to vasopressin was reduced to a greater extent in male (65+/-2%) than in female aortae (38+/-1%). Maximal contractile responses to KCl and Bay K 8644 were similar in male and female aortae. Sensitivity to KCI was slightly but significantly higher in male than in female aorta; in contrast, sensitivity to Bay K 8644 was nearly three-fold higher in males than in females. Removal of the endothelium enhanced sensitivity to KCl similarly in male and female aortae. In the presence of simvastatin (60 microM; an inhibitor of intracellular Ca2+ release), reactivity to vasopressin was reduced substantially in female (42+/-1%) but unaltered in male aortae. Removal of the endothelium enhanced the inhibitory effect of simvastatin in both female (73+/-2%) and male aortae (41+/-2%). These findings demonstrate that male aortae depend more upon extracellular Ca2+ influx, whereas female aortae depend more upon intracellular Ca2+ release for vasopressin-induced contraction.

published proceedings

  • Eur J Pharmacol

author list (cited authors)

  • Eatman, D., Stallone, J. N., Rutecki, G. W., & Whittier, F. C.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Eatman, D||Stallone, JN||Rutecki, GW||Whittier, FC

publication date

  • January 1998