Characterization of K Currents in Cultured Human Corporal Smooth Muscle Cells


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71 Scopus citations


In order to gain more mechanistic insight into the regulation of corporal smooth muscle tone, we conducted electrophysiological studies on homogeneous explant cell cultures of human corpus cavernosum smooth muscle. Patch clamp analyses in the whole cell mode revealed a mean resting potential of −43 = 4.9 m V (n = 12 cells). Large whole cell outward K currents were very prominent in these cells, and ranged from 0.5 to 1.5 nA. In some cells, a transient, voltage‐dependent A current accounted for a significant portion of the observed whole cell currents. Furthermore, stimulation with the calcium channel agonist BAY K 8644 or the K channel agonist pinacidil doubled the magnitude of the whole cell K current, as would be expected for maxi‐K (Kca) and metabolically gated K channels (KATP), respectively. Single channel recordings in the detached patch mode consistently revealed the presence of at least two K channels: 1) a Kca channel, with a conductance of = 190 pS; and 2) a putative delayed rectifier channel with a conductance of =50 pS. Furthermore, all channel types showed some degree of voltage and/or calcium sensitivity. In conclusion, the large magnitude of the whole cell K currents and the observed K channel heterogeneity indicate a potentially important role for these channels in modulating corporal smooth muscle tone. 1993 American Society of Andrology

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-328
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Andrology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1993


  • Human corpus cavernosum
  • K channels
  • electrophysiology
  • erectile physiology
  • maxi‐K channel
  • patch clamp studies
  • pinacidil
  • vascular smooth muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Urology


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