Amount of Pannexin 1 in Smooth Muscle Cells Regulates Sympathetic Nerve-Induced Vasoconstriction

Luke S. Dunaway, Marie Billaud, Edgar Macal, Miranda E. Good, Christopher B. Medina, Ulrike Lorenz, Kodi Ravichandran, Michael Koval, Brant E. Isakson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Panx1 (pannexin 1) forms high conductance channels that secrete ATP upon stimulation. The role of Panx1 in mediating constriction in response to direct sympathetic nerve stimulation is not known. Additionally, it is unknown how the expression level of Panx1 in smooth muscle cells (SMCs) influences -adrenergic responses. We hypothesized that the amount of Panx1 in SMCs dictates the levels of sympathetic constriction and blood pressure. Methods: To test this hypothesis, we used genetically modified mouse models enabling expression of Panx1 in vascular cells to be varied. Electrical field stimulation on isolated arteries and blood pressure were assessed. Results: Genetic deletion of SMC Panx1 prevented constriction by electric field stimulation of sympathetic nerves. Conversely, overexpression of Panx1 in SMCs using a ROSA26 transgenic model increased sympathetic nerve-mediated constriction. Connexin 43 hemichannel inhibitors did not alter constriction. Next, we evaluated the effects of altered SMC Panx1 expression on blood pressure. To do this, we created mice combining a global Panx1 deletion, with ROSA26-Panx1 under the control of an inducible SMC specific Cre (Myh11). This resulted in mice that could express only human Panx1, only in SMCs. After tamoxifen, these mice had increased blood pressure that was acutely decreased by the Panx1 inhibitor spironolactone. Control mice genetically devoid of Panx1 did not respond to spironolactone. Conclusions: These data suggest Panx1 in SMCs could regulate the extent of sympathetic nerve constriction and blood pressure. The results also show the feasibility humanized Panx1-mouse models to test pharmacological candidates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-425
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023


  • blood pressure
  • pannexin
  • smooth muscle
  • spironolactone
  • sympathetic nerve


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