Estrogens can either relax or contract arteries via rapid, nongenomic mechanisms involving classic estrogen receptors (ER). In addition to ERα and ERß, estrogen may also stimulate G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER) in nonvascular tissue; however, a potential role for GPER in coronary arteries is unclear. The purpose of this study was to determine how GPER activity influenced coronary artery reactivity. In vitro isometric force recordings were performed on endotheliumdenuded porcine arteries. These studies were augmented by RT-PCR and single-cell patch-clamp experiments. RT-PCR and immunoblot studies confirmed expression of GPER mRNA and protein, respectively, in smooth muscle from either porcine or human coronary arteries. G-1, a selective GPER agonist, produced a concentrationdependent relaxation of endothelium-denuded porcine coronary arteries in vitro. This response was attenuated by G15, a GPER-selective antagonist, or by inhibiting large-conductance calcium-activated potassium (BKCa) channels with iberiotoxin, but not by inhibiting NO signaling. Last, single-channel patch-clamp studies demonstrated that G-1 stimulates BKCa channel activity in intact smooth muscle cells from either porcine or human coronary arteries but had no effect on channels isolated in excised membrane patches. In summary, GPER activation relaxes coronary artery smooth muscle by increasing potassium efflux via BKCa channels and requires an intact cellular signaling mechanism. This novel action of estrogen-like compounds may help clarify some of the controversy surrounding the vascular effects of estrogens.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/richard_white/32/