Role of intracellular Ca2+ stores in smooth muscle contractions of the guinea pig vas deferens
Contractile responses of the isolated human vas deferens, obtained from vasectomy operations, were measured. Large single electrical shocks gave a twitch response with short latency (0.36 s) which was insensitive to prazosin (5 microM) or TTX (0.2 microM) and was thus identified as due to direct muscle stimulation. A train of 100 low intensity shocks gave a response with a longer latency (1.9 s) which was substantially sensitive to both prazosin and TTX; we assume this response is dominated by an indirect nerve-induced contraction. Relaxations, presumably caused by activation of circular muscle, were recorded from regions of some preparations both by direct and indirect stimulation. Noradrenaline (10-20 microM) induced a tonic contracture, spontaneous contractions and a large potentiation of the response to direct stimulation--but not to indirect stimulation implying a strong presynaptic inhibition. Noradrenaline also speeded the relaxation from contractions. Verapamil (1-100 microM) and nifedipine had no effect on the direct responses but verapamil (10 microM) inhibited the indirect response. Calcium removal prevented most, and 5 mM-EDTA all, of the direct response. However, even with EDTA, noradrenaline was able to support spontaneous and stimulus-induced contractions. Thus contraction of the vas, though sustained by external calcium, does not appear to directly depend on it.