We investigated the biomechanical relationship between intraluminal pressure within small mesenteric resistance arteries, oxidant activation of PKG, Ca2+ sparks, and BK channel vasoregulation. Mesenteric resistance arteries from wild type (WT) and genetically modified mice with PKG resistance to oxidative activation were studied using wire and pressure myography. Ca2+ sparks and Ca2+ transients within vascular smooth muscle cells of intact arteries were characterized using high-speed confocal microscopy of intact arteries. Arteries were studied under conditions of varying intraluminal pressure and oxidation. Intraluminal pressure specifically, rather than the generic stretch of the artery, was necessary to activate the oxidative pathway. We demonstrated a graded step activation profile for the generation of Ca2+ sparks and also a functional "ceiling" for this pressure --sensitive oxidative pathway. During steady state pressure - induced constriction, any additional Ca2+ sensitive-K+ channel functional availability was independent of oxidant activated PKG. There was an increase in the amplitude, but not the Area under the Curve (AUC) of the caffeine-induced Ca2+ transient in pressurized arteries from mice with oxidant-resistant PKG compared with wild type. Overall, we surmise that intraluminal pressure within resistance arteries controls Ca2+ spark vasoregulation through a tightly controlled pathway with a graded onset switch. The pathway, underpinned by oxidant activation of PKG, cannot be further boosted by additional pressure or oxidation once active. We propose that these restrictive characteristics of pressure-induced Ca2+ spark vasoregulation confer stability for the artery in order to provide a constant flow independent of additional pressure fluctuations or exogenous oxidants.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.