Potassium channels in vascular smooth muscle: a pathophysiological and pharmacological perspective.

Dogan M. F., Yildiz O., Arslan S. O., Ulusoy K. G.

Fundamental & clinical pharmacology, vol.33, no.5, pp.504-523, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 33 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/fcp.12461
  • Journal Name: Fundamental & clinical pharmacology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.504-523
  • Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University Affiliated: Yes


Potassium (K+) ion channel activity is an important determinant of vascular tone by regulating cell membrane potential (MP). Activation of K+ channels leads to membrane hyperpolarization and subsequently vasodilatation, while inhibition of the channels causes membrane depolarization and then vasoconstriction. So far five distinct types of K+ channels have been identified in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs): Ca+2-activated K+ channels (BKCa), voltage-dependent K+ channels (K-V), ATP-sensitive K+ channels (K-ATP), inward rectifier K+ channels (K-ir), and tandem two-pore K+ channels (K2P). The activity and expression of vascular K+ channels are changed during major vascular diseases such as hypertension, pulmonary hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, atherosclerosis, and diabetes mellitus. The defective function of K+ channels is commonly associated with impaired vascular responses and is likely to become as a result of changes in K+ channels during vascular diseases. Increased K+ channel function and expression may also help to compensate for increased abnormal vascular tone. There are many pharmacological and genotypic studies which were carried out on the subtypes of K+ channels expressed in variable amounts in different vascular beds. Modulation of K+ channel activity by molecular approaches and selective drug development may be a novel treatment modality for vascular dysfunction in the future. This review presents the basic properties, physiological functions, pathophysiological, and pharmacological roles of the five major classes of K+ channels that have been determined in VSMCs.