Electrophysiological and other aspects of excitation-contraction coupling and uncoupling in mammalian airway smooth muscle
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In this article the electrophysiological events which are believed to underly agonist-induced contraction and relaxation of airway smooth muscle are reviewed, with special emphasis on the indispensable role of the Ca ion. The contribution made by Na, K, Ca and Cl to, and the role that the electrogenic Na:K-dependent ATPase plays in, the maintenance of the resting membrane potential in both normal and sensitised airway smooth muscle cells is described together with the permeability changes that occur in the plasmalemma in response to excitatory and inhibitory agonists. In addition, the currently available evidence for the existence of potential-sensitive and receptor-operated Ca channels in respiratory smooth muscle, and how such channels may be involved in the regulation of airway calibre, is critically assessed.
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