Hypoxic dilation of coronary arteries is mediated by ATP-sensitive potassium channels

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Science  16 Mar 1990:
Vol. 247, Issue 4948, pp. 1341-1344
DOI: 10.1126/science.2107575


The function of the heart depends critically on an adequate oxygen supply through the coronary arteries. Coronary arteries dilate when the intravascular oxygen tension decreases. Hypoxic vasodilation in isolated, perfused guinea pig hearts can be prevented by glibenclamide, a blocker of adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-sensitive potassium channels, and can be mimicked by cromakalim, which opens ATP-sensitive potassium channels. Opening of potassium channels in coronary smooth muscle cells and the subsequent drop in intracellular calcium is probably the major cause of hypoxic and ischemic vasodilation in the mammalian heart.

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