Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) is a recently discovered gasotransmitter that may regulate a growing number of endothelial functions, including nitric oxide (NO) release, proliferation, adhesion and migration, which are the key steps of angiogenesis. The mechanism whereby H2S impacts on endothelial physiology is still unclear: however, the aforementioned processes are driven by an increase in intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i). In the present study, we exploited the excised rat aorta to gain insights into the regulation of [Ca2+]i by H2S within in situ endothelial cells (ECs). Sodium hydrosulphide (NaHS), a H2S donor, caused an elevation in [Ca2+]i, which disappeared in absence of extracellular Ca2+. NaHSinduced Ca2+ inflow was sensitive to high doses of Gd3+, but not BTP-2. Inhibition of the reverse-mode of the Na+-Ca2+ exchanger (NCX), with KB-R7943 or upon removal of extracellular Na+, abrogated the Ca2+ response to NaHS. Moreover, NaHS-elicited Ca2+ entry was significantly reduced by TEA and glybenclamide, which hinted at the involvement of ATP-dependent K+ (KATP) channels. Conversely, NaHS-evoked Ca2+ signal was not affected by the reducing agent, dithiothreitol. Acute addition of NaHS hindered both Ca2+ release and Ca2+ entry induced by ATP, a physiological agonist of ECs. Consistently, inhibition of endogenous H2S synthesis with DL-propargylglycine impaired ATP-induced Ca2+ inflow, whereas it did not affect Ca2+ mobilization. These data provide the first evidence that H2S may stimulate Ca2+ influx into ECs by recruiting the reverse-mode of NCX and KATP channels. In addition, they show that such gasotransmitter may modulate the Ca2+ signals elicited by physiological stimuli in intact endothelium.
Keywords: ATP-dependent K+ channels, Ca2+, endothelium, glybenclamide, hydrogen sulphide, KB-R7943, Na+-Ca2+ exchanger, DL-propargylglycine, rat aorta, endothelial physiology, gasotransmitter, physiological stimuli, rat mesenteric arteries, vascular tree, sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS)