Prolonged decreases in urinary bladder blood flow are linked to overactive and underactive bladder pathologies. However, the mechanisms regulating bladder vascular reactivity are largely unknown. To investigate these mechanisms, we examined myogenic and vasoactive properties of mouse bladder feed arterioles (BFAs). Unlike similar-sized arterioles from other vascular beds, BFAs failed to constrict in response to increases in intraluminal pressure (5-80 mmHg). Consistent with this lack of myogenic tone, arteriolar smooth muscle cell membrane potential was hyperpolarized (-72.8±1.4 mV) at 20 mmHg and unaffected by increasing pressure to 80 mmHg (-74.3±2.2 mV). In contrast, BFAs constricted to the thromboxane analog U-46619 (100 nM), the adrenergic agonist phenylephrine (10 µM), and KCl (60 mM). Inhibition of nitric oxide synthase or intermediate- and small-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channels did not alter arteriolar diameter, indicating that the dilated state of BFAs is not attributable to overactive endothelium-dependent dilatory influences. Myocytes isolated from BFAs exhibited BaCl2 (100 µM)-sensitive K+ currents consistent with strong inward-rectifier K+ (KIR) channels. Notably, block of these KIR channels "restored" pressure-induced constriction and membrane depolarization. This suggests that these channels, in part, account for hyperpolarization and associated absence of tone in BFAs. Furthermore, smooth muscle-specific knockout of KIR2.1 caused significant myogenic tone to develop at physiological pressures. This suggests that: (1) the regulation of vascular tone in the bladder is independent of pressure, insomuch that pressure-induced depolarizing conductances cannot overcome KIR2.1-mediated hyperpolarization; and (2) that maintenance of bladder blood flow during bladder filling is likely controlled by neurohumoral influences.
- urinary bladder
- potassium channels
- myogenic tone
- Copyright © 2016, American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology