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The protective effect of K+ channel openers on beta-amyloid induced cerebrovascular endothelial dysfunction.

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By Chi X, Sutton ET, Thomas T, Price JM • www.ProHealth.com • June 1, 1999


Amyloid angiopathy is characterized by amyloid beta-peptide (A beta) deposition and may contribute to the cerebrovascular abnormalities that precede the onset of Alzheimer's Disease (AD). That aberrant potassium (K+) channel function occurs in AD patients is supported by deleterious effects of A beta on normal fibroblast K+ channels and prevention of A beta-induced toxicity by potassium channel openers (KCOs) in neuronal cell culture.

We report here that KCOs protect cerebral and peripheral vessels against the endothelial damage induced by A beta. Pressurized posterior cerebral artery and aortic ring segments from the rat were constricted and then relaxed with the endothelium-dependent vasodilator acetylcholine before and after incubation with A beta (10(-6) M), or pre-treatment with KCOs before the addition of beta-amyloid. Vessels treated with A beta exhibited features of endothelial dysfunction: enhanced vasoconstriction and diminished endothelium-dependent vasodilation. Pre-treatment with KCOs significantly antagonized the A beta effect in both cerebral and aortic vessel segments. This protection was provided by both KCa and KATP channel openers. Endothelial damage by A beta and protection by KCOs was verified by electron microscopy. The K+ channel blocker, TEA, reversed the protective effect of KCO.

The results suggest that potassium channel openers protect against A beta induced endothelial dysfunction and that KCOs may have a role in the treatment of degenerative cerebrovascular disease as seen in stroke, AD and aging.

Source: Neurol Res 1999 Jun;21(4):345-51
PMID: 10406005, UI: 99334506

(Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of South Florida, Tampa, USA. )




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