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1.  Endothelin-Dependent Vasoconstriction in Human Uterine Artery: Application to Preeclampsia 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e16540.
Background
Reduced uteroplacental perfusion, the initiating event in preeclampsia, is associated with enhanced endothelin-1 (ET-1) production which feeds the vasoconstriction of uterine artery. Whether the treatments of preeclampsia were effective on ET-1 induced contraction and could reverse placental ischemia is the question addressed in this study. We investigated the effect of antihypertensive drugs used in preeclampsia and of ET receptor antagonists on the contractile response to ET-1 on human uterine arteries.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Experiments were performed, ex vivo, on human uterine artery samples obtained after hysterectomy. We studied variations in isometric tension of arterial rings in response to the vasoconstrictor ET-1 and evaluated the effects of various vasodilators and ET-receptor antagonists on this response. Among antihypertensive drugs, only dihydropyridines were effective in blocking and reversing the ET-1 contractile response. Their efficiency, independent of the concentration of ET-1, was only partial. Hydralazine, alpha-methyldopa and labetalol had no effect on ET-1 induced contraction which is mediated by both ETA and ETB receptors in uterine artery. ET receptors antagonists, BQ-123 and BQ-788, slightly reduced the amplitude of the response to ET-1. Combination of both antagonists was more efficient, but it was not possible to reverse the maximal ET-1-induced contraction with antagonists used alone or in combination.
Conclusion
Pharmacological drugs currently used in the context of preeclampsia, do not reverse ET-1 induced contraction. Only dihydropyridines, which partially relax uterine artery previously contracted with ET-1, might offer interesting perspectives to improve placental perfusion.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016540
PMCID: PMC3027698  PMID: 21298073
2.  New Insights in the Contribution of Voltage-Gated Nav Channels to Rat Aorta Contraction 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(10):e7360.
Background
Despite increasing evidence for the presence of voltage-gated Na+ channels (Nav) isoforms and measurements of Nav channel currents with the patch-clamp technique in arterial myocytes, no information is available to date as to whether or not Nav channels play a functional role in arteries. The aim of the present work was to look for a physiological role of Nav channels in the control of rat aortic contraction.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Nav channels were detected in the aortic media by Western blot analysis and double immunofluorescence labeling for Nav channels and smooth muscle α-actin using specific antibodies. In parallel, using real time RT-PCR, we identified three Nav transcripts: Nav1.2, Nav1.3, and Nav1.5. Only the Nav1.2 isoform was found in the intact media and in freshly isolated myocytes excluding contamination by other cell types. Using the specific Nav channel agonist veratridine and antagonist tetrodotoxin (TTX), we unmasked a contribution of these channels in the response to the depolarizing agent KCl on rat aortic isometric tension recorded from endothelium-denuded aortic rings. Experimental conditions excluded a contribution of Nav channels from the perivascular sympathetic nerve terminals. Addition of low concentrations of KCl (2–10 mM), which induced moderate membrane depolarization (e.g., from −55.9±1.4 mV to −45.9±1.2 mV at 10 mmol/L as measured with microelectrodes), triggered a contraction potentiated by veratridine (100 µM) and blocked by TTX (1 µM). KB-R7943, an inhibitor of the reverse mode of the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger, mimicked the effect of TTX and had no additive effect in presence of TTX.
Conclusions/Significance
These results define a new role for Nav channels in arterial physiology, and suggest that the TTX-sensitive Nav1.2 isoform, together with the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger, contributes to the contractile response of aortic myocytes at physiological range of membrane depolarization.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007360
PMCID: PMC2752992  PMID: 19809503

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