Activation of KV7 channels stimulates vasodilatation of human placental chorionic plate arteries.
Mills TA., Greenwood SL., Devlin G., Shweikh Y., Robinson M., Cowley E., Hayward CE., Cottrell EC., Tropea T., Brereton MF., Dalby-Brown W., Wareing M.
INTRODUCTION: Potassium (K(+)) channels are key regulators of vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) excitability. In systemic small arteries, Kv7 channel expression/activity has been noted and a role in vascular tone regulation demonstrated. We aimed to demonstrate functional Kv7 channels in human fetoplacental small arteries. METHODS: Human placental chorionic plate arteries (CPAs) were obtained at term. CPA responses to Kv7 channel modulators was determined by wire myography. Presence of Kv7 channel mRNA (encoded by KCNQ1-5) and protein expression were assessed by RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry/immunofluorescence, respectively. RESULTS: Kv7 channel blockade with linopirdine increased CPA basal tone and AVP-induced contraction. Pre-contracted CPAs (AVP; 80 mM K(+) depolarization solution) exhibited significant relaxation to flupirtine, retigabine, the acrylamide (S)-1, and (S) BMS-204352, differential activators of Kv7.1 - Kv7.5 channels. All CPAs assessed expressed KCNQ1 and KCNQ3-5 mRNA; KCNQ2 was expressed only in a subset of CPAs. Kv7 protein expression was confirmed in intact CPAs and isolated VSMCs. DISCUSSION: Kv7 channels are present and active in fetoplacental vessels, contributing to vascular tone regulation in normal pregnancy. Targeting these channels may represent a therapeutic intervention in pregnancies complicated by increased vascular resistance.