T-type voltage gated calcium channels are involved in endothelium-dependent relaxation of mice pulmonary artery.
Chronic hypoxia (CH)-induced pulmonary hypertension may influence basal endothelial cell (EC) intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)). We hypothesized that CH decreases EC [Ca(2+)](i) associated with membrane depolarization and reduced Ca(2+) entry. To test this hypothesis, we assessed 1) basal endothelial Ca(2+) in pressurized pulmonary arteries and freshly isolated ECs, 2) EC membrane potential (E(m)), 3) store-operated Ca(2+) current (I(SOC)), and 4) store-operated Ca(2+) (SOC) entry in arteries from control and CH rats. We found that basal EC Ca(2+) was significantly lower in pressurized pulmonary arteries and freshly isolated ECs from CH rats compared with controls. Similarly, ECs in intact arteries from CH rats were depolarized compared with controls, although no differences were observed between groups in isolated cells. I(SOC) activation by 1 muM thapsigargin displayed diminished inward current and a reversal potential closer to 0 mV in cells from CH rats compared with controls. In addition, SOC entry determined by fura 2 fluorescence and Mn(2+) quenching revealed a parallel reduction in Ca(2+) entry following CH. We conclude that differences in the magnitude of SOC entry exist between freshly dispersed ECs from CH and control rats and correlates with the decrease in basal EC [Ca(2+)](i). In contrast, basal EC Ca(2+) influx is unaffected and membrane depolarization is limited to intact arteries, suggesting that E(m) may not play a major role in determining basal EC [Ca(2+)](i) following CH.