Apelin Reduces Nitric Oxide–Induced Relaxation of Cerebral Arteries by Inhibiting Activation of Large-Conductance, Calcium-Activated K Channels

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Activation of the apelin/APJ receptor signaling system causes endothelium-dependent and nitric oxide (NO)–dependent relaxation in several peripheral arteries. The effects of apelin in cerebral arteries are unknown; however, apelin inhibits voltage-dependent increases in large-conductance, calcium-activated K channel (BKCa) currents in cerebral artery smooth muscle cells. Because NO-induced relaxation of cerebral arteries is mediated, in part, by activation of BKCa channels, the goals of this study were to determine the net effect of apelin in cerebral arteries, as well as test the hypothesis that the actions of apelin in cerebral arteries are secondary to stimulation of APJ receptors. Immunoblot and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analyses detected APJ receptors in cerebral arteries of male Sprague-Dawley rats, and immunofluorescence studies using confocal microscopy confirmed APJ receptor localization in smooth muscle cells. In myograph studies, apelin itself had no direct vasomotor effect but inhibited relaxations to the NO-donor, diethylamine NONOate, and to the endothelium-dependent vasodilator, bradykinin. These effects of apelin were mimicked by the selective BKCa-channel blocker, iberiotoxin, and suppressed by the APJ receptor antagonist, F13A. Apelin also inhibited relaxations evoked by the BKCa-channel openers, NS1619 and BMS 191011, but had no effect on relaxation to levcromakalim, a selective KATP-channel opener. Apelin had no effect on diethylamine NONOate–induced or bradykinin-induced increases in cyclic guanosine monophosphate levels. Patch clamp recordings demonstrated that apelin and iberiotoxin each suppressed the increase in BKCa currents induced by DEA and NS1619 in freshly isolated cerebral artery smooth muscle cells. The results demonstrate that apelin inhibits NO-induced relaxation of cerebral arteries through a mechanism involving activation of APJ receptors and inhibition of BKCa channels in cerebral arterial smooth muscle cells.

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