Isosteviol is a derivative of stevioside, a constituent of Stevia rebaudiana, and is commonly used as a non-caloric sugar substitute in Japan and Brazil. The present study attempted to elucidate the role of potassium (K +) channels in the action of isosteviol on intracellular calcium concentrations ([Ca2+]i) in cultured vascular smooth muscle (A7r5) cells using the Ca2+-sensitive dye Fura-2 as an indicator. The increase of [Ca2+]i in A7r5 cells produced by vasopressin (1 μmol/L) or phenylephrine (1 μmol/L) was attenuated by isosteviol from 0. 01 μmol/L to 10 μmol/L. The attenuation by isosteviol of the vasopressin- and phenylephrine-induced increase in [Ca2+]i was inhibited by glibenclamide, apamin and 4-aminopyridine but not by charybdotoxin. Furthermore, the inhibitory action of isosteviol on [Ca2+]i was blocked when A7r5 cells co-treated with glibenclamide and apamin in conjunction with 4-aminopyridine were present. Therefore, not only did the ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channel affect the action of isosteviol on [Ca 2+]i modulation in A7r5 cells, but also those on the small conductance calcium-activated potassium (SKCa) channels and voltage-gated (Kv) channels. However, the blockers of large-conductance Ca 2+-activated potassium channels failed to modify the inhibitory action of isosteviol on [Ca2+]i. The obtained results indicated that a decrease of [Ca2+]i in A7r5 cells by isosteviol is mainly mediated by the selective opening of KATP channel or/and SKCa channel. Alteration in the Kv channel also plays a critical role in the inhibitory action of isosteviol.
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