Adenosine relaxation of isolated vascular smooth muscle

J. T. Herlihy, E. L. Bockman, R. M. Berne, R. Rubio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Adenosine relaxed hog carotid media strips contracted with norepinephrine (NE) and potassium (K+). Adenosine (3 x 10-6 M) was more effective in relaxing the NE contractures than those produced by K+. In both cases, adenosine's efficacy decreased with increasing concentrations of the stimulating agent. A high adenosine concentration (1 x 10-3 M) was necessary to elicit relaxation of completely depolarized (124 mM K+) media strips and equimolar concentrations of aminophylline caused greater relaxation than did adenosine. Adenosine inhibited the Ca2+ dose response curves of strips stimulated with 20 mM and 30 mM K+ and its effect was dependent on the Ca2+ concentration. Neither 1 x 10-6 M nor 1 x 10-4 M adenosine produced any change in the cAMP content of vascular strips. Only at high concentrations did adenosine increase the cAMP content of vascular strips, but the increase was significantly more than that observed with the same dose of aminophylline. The present results are consistent with the possibility that adenosine relaxes vascular smooth muscle by directly altering Ca2+ permeability and/or membrane potential; they do not support a role for cAMP in the adenosine induced relaxation of vascular smooth muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1239-1243
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1976
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)


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