Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Paul H. Ratz


Discoveries made with KCl-induced contractions have elucidated the more complex reactions involved in GPCRs signaling; once the mechanisms of smooth muscle Ca2+ sensitization and desensitization are fully understood, then the development of advanced treatments for vascular disorders such as hypertension, cerebral and coronary vasospasm, and vascular hyporeactivity following hemorrhagic shock may be possible. Studies have shown that KCl-induced contractions induce Ca2+-sensitization. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that KCl induced Ca2+-sensitization is due to ROK activation by the increase in [Ca2+]i. To test this hypothesis, rabbit femoral arteries were permeabilized with 20µg/ml α-toxin and 1% Triton X-100 and subjected to different calcium concentrations in the presence or absence of various ROK inhibitors. For a comparison we also used various PKC and MLCK inhibitors and repeated these experiments in intact tissues. We found that either [Ca2+]i alone does not directly activate ROK or the permeabilization technique itself disrupts the normal ROK signaling system. Secondary findings revealed that α-toxin activates PKC pathways; in both chemically permeabilized preparations proteases also appear to be activated and MLCK is the primary kinase responsible for contraction.


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Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

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Physiology Commons