Voltage-activated Ca2+ channels in rat renal afferent and efferent myocytes: no evidence for the T-type Ca2+ current

S V Smirnov, Kathy Loutzenhizer, Rodger Loutzenhiser

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AIMS: Based on indirect methods, it has been suggested that both L- and T-type Ca(2+) channels mediate signalling in the renal afferent arteriole and that T-type Ca(2+) channels are involved in signalling in the efferent arteriole. However, Ca(2+) currents have never been studied in these two vessels. Our study was initiated to directly determine the type of Ca(2+) channels in these vessels for the first time, using patch clamp. METHODS AND RESULTS: Native myocytes were obtained from individually isolated rat renal afferent and efferent arterioles and from rat tail arteries (TA). TA myocytes, which possess both L- and T-type Ca(2+) currents, served as a positive control. Inward Ca(2+) and Ba(2+) currents (I(Ca) and I(Ba)) were measured in 1.5 mmol/L Ca(2+) and 10 mmol/L Ba(2+), respectively, using the whole-cell configuration. By exploiting known differences in activation and inactivation characteristics and differing sensitivities to nifedipine and kurtoxin, the presence of both L- and T-type Ca(2+) channels in TA myocytes was readily demonstrated. Afferent arteriolar myocytes exhibited relatively large I(Ca) densities (-2.0 ± 0.2 pA/pF) in physiological Ca(2+) and the I(Ba) was 3.6-fold greater. These currents were blocked by nifedipine, but not by kurtoxin, and did not exhibit the activation and inactivation characteristics of T-type Ca(2+) channels. Efferent arteriolar myocytes did not exhibit a discernible voltage-activated I(Ca) in physiological Ca(2+). CONCLUSION: Our findings support the physiological role of L-type Ca(2+) channels in the afferent, but not efferent, arteriole, but do not support the premise that functional T-type Ca(2+) channels are present in either vessel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-301
Number of pages9
JournalCardiovascular Research
Issue number2
Early online date3 Oct 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013


  • renal microcirculation
  • renal arterioles
  • Calcium channels
  • kidney
  • electrophysiology
  • patch-clamp technique
  • smooth muscle cells
  • vascular smooth muscle cells


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