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A model of smooth muscle cell synchronization in the arterial wall.

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  • Jens Christian Jacobsen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Christian Aalkjær
  • Holger Nilsson, Denmark
  • Vladimir Matchkov
  • Jacob Freiberg, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Niels-Henrik Holstein-Rathlou, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Danish Biomembrane Research Centre
Vasomotion is a rhythmic variation in microvascular diameter. Although known for more than 150 years, the cellular processes underlying initiation of vasomotion are not fully understood. In the present study a model of a single cell is extended by coupling a number of cells into a tube. The simulated results point to a permissive role of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) in establishing intercellular synchronization. In sufficient concentration, cGMP may activate a cGMP-sensitive calcium-dependent chloride channel causing a tight spatio-temporal coupling between release of sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) calcium, membrane depolarization and influx of extra-cellular calcium. Low [cGMP] is associated only with unsynchronized waves. At intermediate concentrations, cells display either waves or whole-cell oscillations, but these remain unsynchronized between cells. Whole-cell oscillations are associated with rhythmic variation in membrane potential and flow of current through gap junctions. The amplitude of these oscillations in potential grows with increasing [cGMP], and, past a certain threshold, they become strong enough to entrain all cells in the vascular wall, thereby initiating sustained vasomotion. In this state there is a rhythmic flow of calcium through voltage-sensitive calcium channels into the cytoplasm, making the frequency of established vasomotion sensitive to membrane potential. It is concluded that electrical coupling through gap junctions is likely to be responsible for the rapid synchronization across a large number of cells. Gap-junctional current between cells is due to the appearance of oscillations in the membrane potential which again depend on the entrainment of SR and plasma membrane within the individual cell. Key words: Vasomotion, Mathematical model, Chloride channel, Gap-junctions, Synchronization.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Pages (from-to)H229-H237
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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