Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology

, Volume 470, Issue 9, pp 1271–1289 | Cite as

Calcium- and voltage-gated BK channels in vascular smooth muscle

  • Alex M. DopicoEmail author
  • Anna N. Bukiya
  • Jonathan H. Jaggar
Invited Review
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Invited Review


Ion channels in vascular smooth muscle regulate myogenic tone and vessel contractility. In particular, activation of calcium- and voltage-gated potassium channels of large conductance (BK channels) results in outward current that shifts the membrane potential toward more negative values, triggering a negative feed-back loop on depolarization-induced calcium influx and SM contraction. In this short review, we first present the molecular basis of vascular smooth muscle BK channels and the role of subunit composition and trafficking in the regulation of myogenic tone and vascular contractility. BK channel modulation by endogenous signaling molecules, and paracrine and endocrine mediators follows. Lastly, we describe the functional changes in smooth muscle BK channels that contribute to, or are triggered by, common physiological conditions and pathologies, including obesity, diabetes, and systemic hypertension.


Slo1 gene KCNMB1 gene MaxiK channel Calcium signaling Vascular smooth muscle Vascular pathophysiology 



The authors thank Mrs. Easter Jenkins and Ms. Kelsey Cleland North for their excellent technical assistance. This work was supported by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Heart and Lung Institute through grants R37 AA11560 (AMD), R01 HL104631 (AMD), R01 AA023764 (ANB), R01 HL67061 (JHJ), HL133256, (JHJ), and HL133745 (JHJ).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology, College of MedicineThe University of Tennessee Health Science CenterMemphisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physiology, College of MedicineThe University of Tennessee Health Science CenterMemphisUSA

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