Mechanical stimulation regulates voltage-gated potassium currents in cardiac microvascular endothelial cells
Fan, J.; Walsh, K.B.
Circulation Research 84(4): 451-457
ISSN/ISBN: 0009-7330 PMID: 10066680 DOI: 10.1161/01.res.84.4.451
Vascular endothelial cells are constantly exposed to mechanical forces resulting from blood flow and transmural pressure. The goal of this study was to determine whether mechanical stimulation alters the properties of endothelial voltage-gated K+ channels. Cardiac microvascular endothelial cells (CMECs) were isolated from rat ventricular muscle and cultured on thin sheets of silastic membranes. Membrane currents were measured with the use of the whole-cell arrangement of the patch-clamp technique in endothelial cells subjected to static stretch for 24 hours and compared with measurements from control, nonstretched cells. Voltage steps positive to -30 mV resulted in the activation of a time-dependent, delayed rectifier K+ current (IK) in the endothelial cells. Mechanically induced increases of 97%, 355%, and 106% at +30 mV were measured in the peak amplitude of IK in cells stretched for 24 hours by 5%, 10%, and 15%, respectively. In addition, the half-maximal voltage required for IK activation was shifted from +34 mV in the nonstretched cells to -5 mV in the stretched cells. Although IK in both groups of CMECs was blocked to a similar extent by tetraethylammonium, currents in the stretched endothelial cells displayed an enhanced sensitivity to inhibition by charybdotoxin. Preincubation of the CMECs with either pertussis toxin or phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate during the 24 hours of cell stretch did not prevent the increase in IK. The application of phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate and static stretch stimulated the proliferation of CMECS. Stretch-induced regulation of K+ channels may be important to control the resting potential of the endothelium and may contribute to capillary growth during periods of mechanical perturbation.