Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology

Murine vasa recta pericyte chloride conductance is controlled by calcium, depolarization, and kinase activity

Hai Lin, Thomas L. Pallone, Chunhua Cao


We used the whole cell patch-clamp technique to investigate the regulation of descending vasa recta (DVR) pericyte Ca2+-dependent Cl currents (CaCC) by cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca]CYT), voltage, and kinase activity. Murine CaCC increased with voltage and electrode Ca2+ concentration. The current saturated at [Ca]CYT of ∼1,000 nM and exhibited an EC50 for Ca2+ of ∼500 nM, independent of depolarization potential. Activation time constants were between 100 and 200 ms, independent of electrode Ca2+. Repolarization-related tail currents elicited by stepping from +100 mV to varying test potentials exhibited deactivation time constants of 50–200 ms that increased with voltage when electrode [Ca]CYT was 1,000 nM. The calmodulin inhibitor N-(6-aminohexyl)-5-chloro-1-naphthalenesulfonamide hydrochloride (W-7, 30 μM) blocked CaCC. The myosin light chain kinase blockers 1-(5-iodonaphthalene-1-sulfonyl)-1H-hexahydro-1,4-diazepine hydrochloride (ML-7, 1–50 μM) and 1-(5-chloronaphthalene-1-sulfonyl)-1H-hexahydro-1,4-diazepine hydrochloride (ML-9, 10 μM) were similarly effective. Resting pericytes were hyperpolarized by ML-7. Pericytes exposed to ANG II (10 nM) depolarized from a baseline of −50 ± 6 to −29 ± 3 mV and were repolarized to −63 ± 7 mV by exposure to 50 μM ML-7. The Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase inhibitor KN-93 reduced pericyte CaCC only when it was present in the electrode and extracellular buffer from the time of membrane break-in. We conclude that murine DVR pericytes are modulated by [Ca]CYT, membrane potential, and phosphorylation events, suggesting that Ca2+-dependent Cl conductance may be a target for regulation of vasoactivity and medullary blood flow in vivo.

  • kidney
  • medulla
  • microcirculation
  • electrophysiology
  • vasoconstriction
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