Ginsenosides (GS), an extract of Panax ginseng, have been reported to be effective in inducing vascular relaxation mediated by nitric oxide (NO) release. The present experiments were designed to determine whether this GS-induced vasorelaxation also involves Ca2+-activated K+ (KCa) channels in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) in addition to endothelium-derived NO. GS induced vasorelaxation in rat aortic rings, which had been precontracted with phenylephrine, in a concentration-dependent manner. This GS-induced relaxation was partially reversed by tetraethylammonium (TEA), an inhibitor of KCa channels; methylene blue (MB), an inhibitor of soluble guanylate cyclase; as well as Nω-nitro-L-arginine (L-NNA), but not by glybenclamide. In cultured VSMC and endothelial cells, KCa channels were activated by GS. This action was abolished by TEA, but was not blocked by glybenclamide. In addition, the GS-induced activity of KCa channels was partially inhibited by MB or H-8. These results indicate that the activation of KCa channels involved, at least in part, the GS-induced vasorelaxation of rat aorta.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine