Myoendothelial coupling is not prominent in arterioles within the mouse cremaster microcirculation in vivo

Dahiel Siegl, Michael Koeppen, Stephanie E. Wölfle, Ulrich Pohl, Cor De Wit*

*Corresponding author for this work
78 Citations (Scopus)


A smooth muscle hyperpolarization is essential for endothelium-dependent hyperpolarizing factor-mediated dilations. It is debated whether the hyperpolarization is induced by a factor (endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor) and/or is attributable to direct current transfer from the endothelium via myoendothelial gap junctions. Here, we measured membrane potential in endothelial cells (EC) and smooth muscle cells (SMC) in vivo at rest and during acetylcholine (ACh) application in the cremaster microcirculation of mice using sharp microelectrodes before and after application of specific blockers of Ca2+-dependent K+ channels (KCa). Moreover, diameter changes in response to ACh were studied. Membrane potential at rest was lower in EC than SMC (-46.6±1.0 versus -36.5±1.0mV, P<0.05). Bolus application of ACh induced robust hyperpolarizations in EC and SMC, but the amplitude (11.1±0.9 versus 5.1±0.9mV, P<0.05) and duration of the response (10.7±0.8 versus 7.5±1.0s, P<0.05) were larger in EC. Blockers of large conductance KCa (charybdotoxin or iberiotoxin) abrogated ACh-induced hyperpolarizations in SMC but did not alter endothelial hyperpolarizations. In contrast, apamin, a blocker of small conductance K0, abolished ACh-induced hyperpolarizations in EC and had only small effects on SMC. ACh-induced dilations were strongly attenuated by iberiotoxin but only slightly by apamin. We conclude that myoendothelial coupling in arterioles in vivo in the murine cremaster is weak, as EC and SMC behaved electrically different. Small conductance KCa mediate endothelial hyperpolarization in response to ACh, whereas large conductance Kca are important in SMC. Because tight myoendothelial coupling was found in vitro in previous studies, we suggest that it is differentially regulated between vascular beds and/or by mechanisms acting in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCirculation research
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)781-788
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 14.10.2005

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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