Calcium Related Basis of Action of Vascular Agents: Cellular Approaches

  • Frank R. Goodman


It is well established in vascular smooth muscle (Bohr, 1973; Weiss, 1977) as well as in cardiac (Fozzard, 1977; Fleckenstein, 1977) and other types of muscle (Bianchi, 1975; Ebashi, 1977) that calcium serves as a link in the events leading from membrane depolarization to muscle contraction. However, the degree of dependence on the extracellular Ca2+ level varies greatly among the different types of muscle. For example, contractile responsiveness in skeletal muscle is less sensitive to changes in the extracellular Ca2+ concentration than are contractions obtained with cardiac muscle. These differences in the degree of dependence on extracellular Ca2+ have been related to the volume of sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) in the tissue (Devine et al., 1972). Skeletal muscle has a large amount of SR (Lüllmann and Peters, 1977) in relation to the amount found in cardiac or smooth muscle. In skeletal muscle, depolarization of the transverse tubular element initiates a coupling step between the transverse tubular element and the SR, which, in turn, causes the release of Ca2+ important for contraction. In contrast, Ca2+ important for initiation of contraction in cardiac muscle originates from superficial sites which are in equilibrium with interstitial space Ca2+ (Langer, 1976). Thus, in skeletal muscle and, to some degree, in cardiac muscle both the manner in which Ca2+ is utilized for the initiation of the contractile response and the mechanism(s) by which drugs interfere with this process are well characterized (Fuchs, 1974; Bianchi, 1975).


Smooth Muscle Vascular Smooth Muscle Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Leave Anterior Descend Contractile Response 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank R. Goodman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyDow Chemical CompanyIndianapolisUSA

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