International Journal of Medical Sciences

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13 December 2018

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Int J Med Sci 2014; 11(9):886-892. doi:10.7150/ijms.9338

Research Paper

Gestational Hypoxia Up-regulates Protein Kinase C and Inhibits Calcium-Activated Potassium Channels in Ovine Uterine Arteries

Daliao Xiao, Ronghui Zhu, Lubo Zhang

Center for Perinatal Biology, Division of Pharmacology, Department of Basic Sciences, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA, USA


Objective: The present study tested the hypothesis that gestational hypoxia up-regulates protein kinase C (PKC) and inhibits calcium-activated potassium channels (KCa)-mediated relaxations of uterine arteries in pregnancy. Study design: Uterine arteries were isolated from nonpregnant (NPUA) and pregnant (PUA) (~140 day gestation) sheep maintained at either sea level or high altitude (3,820 m for 110 days, PaO2: 60 mmHg). Contractions of uterine arteries were determined. Key findings: In normoxic PUA, selective inhibition of large-conductance KCa (BK) channels significantly enhanced PKC activator phorbol 12, 13-dibutyrate (PDBu)-induced contractions. This effect was abrogated by chronic hypoxia in gestation. Unlike BK channels, inhibition of small-conductance KCa (SK) channels had no significant effect on PDBu-mediated contractions. In normoxic PUA, activation of both BK with NS1619 or SK with NS309 produced concentration-dependent relaxations, which were not altered by the addition of PDBu. However, in uterine arteries treated with chronic hypoxia (10.5% O2 for 48 h), both NS1619- and NS309-induced relaxations were significantly attenuated by PDBu. In NPUAs, inhibition of BK channels significantly enhanced PDBu-induced contractions in both normoxic and hypoxic animals. Conclusion: The results suggest that in the normoxic condition BK inhibits PKC activity and uterine vascular contractility, which is selectively attenuated by chronic hypoxia during gestation. In addition, hypoxia induces PKC-mediated inhibition of BK and SK activities and relaxations of uterine arteries in pregnancy.

Keywords: chronic hypoxia, pregnancy, PKC, K+ channel, uterine arterial contractility.

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How to cite this article:
Xiao D, Zhu R, Zhang L. Gestational Hypoxia Up-regulates Protein Kinase C and Inhibits Calcium-Activated Potassium Channels in Ovine Uterine Arteries. Int J Med Sci 2014; 11(9):886-892. doi:10.7150/ijms.9338. Available from