Moderate-Intensity Exercise Training Reduces Vasorelaxation of Mesenteric Arteries: Role of BKCa Channels and Nitric Oxide

Farid Al-Dhuhli, Sultan Al-Siyabi, Hamed Al-Maamari, Said Al-Farsi, Sulayma Albarwani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Exercise training (ET) is well established to induce vascular adaptations on the metabolically active muscles. These adaptations include increased function of vascular potassium channels and enhanced endothelium-dependent relaxations. However, the available data on the effect of ET on vasculatures that normally constrict during exercise, such as mesenteric arteries (MA), are scarce and not conclusive. Therefore, this study hypothesized that 10 weeks of moderate-intensity ET would result in adaptations towards more vasoconstriction or/and less vasodilatation of MA. Young Fischer 344 rats were randomly assigned to a sedentary group (SED; n=24) or exercise training group (EXE; n=28). The EXE rats underwent a progressive treadmill ET program for 10 weeks. Isometric tensions of small (SED; 252.9±29.5 µm, EXE; 248.6±34.4 µm) and large (SED; 397.7±85.3 µm, EXE; 414.0±86.95 µm) MA were recorded in response to cumulative phenylephrine concentrations (PE; 0-30 µM) in the presence and absence of the BKCa channel blocker, Iberiotoxin (100 nM). In another set of experiments, tensions in response to cumulative concentration-response curves of acetylcholine (ACh) or sodium nitroprusside (SNP) were obtained, and pEC50s were compared. Immunoblotting was performed to measure protein expression levels of the BKCa channel subunits and eNOS. ET did not alter the basal tension of small and large MA but significantly increased their responses to PE, and reduced the effect of BKCa channels in opposing the contractile responses to PE without changes in the protein expression level of BKCa subunits. ET also elicited a size-dependent functional adaptations that involved reduced endothelium-independent and endothelium-dependent relaxations. In large MA the sensitivity to SNP was decreased more than in small MA suggesting impaired nitric oxide (NO)-dependent mechanisms within the vascular smooth muscle cells of ET group. Whereas the shift in pEC50 of ACh-induced relaxation of small MA would suggest more effect on the production of NO within the endothelium, which is not changed in large MA of ET group. However, the eNOS protein expression level was not significantly changed between the ET and SED groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-77
Number of pages11
JournalPhysiological Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Exercise training
  • Large conductance calcium-activated potassium channel
  • Mesenteric arteries
  • Nitric oxide
  • Vascular smooth muscle cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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