Deletion of T-type calcium channels Cav3.1 or Cav3.2 attenuates endothelial dysfunction in aging mice

Anne D Thuesen, Kenneth Andersen, Kristina S Lyngsø, Mark Burton, Charlotte Brasch-Andersen, Paul M Vanhoutte, Pernille B L Hansen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Impairment of endothelial function with aging is accompanied by reduced nitric oxide (NO) production. T-type Cav3.1 channels augment nitric oxide and co-localize with eNOS. Therefore, the hypothesis was that T-type channels contribute to the endothelial dysfunction of aging. Endothelial function was determined in mesenteric arteries (perfusion) and aortae (isometric contraction) of young and old wild-type (WT), Cav3.1, and Cav3.2 knockout mice. NO production was measured by fluorescence imaging in mesenteric arteries. With age, endothelium-dependent subsequent dilatation (following depolarization with KCl) of mesenteric arteries was diminished in the arteries of WT mice, unchanged in Cav3.2(-/-) preparations but increased in those of Cav3.1(-/-) mice. NO synthase inhibition abolished the subsequent dilatation in mesenteric arteries and acetylcholine-induced relaxations in aortae. NO levels were significantly reduced in mesenteric arteries of old compared to young WT mice. In Cav3.1(-/-) and Cav3.2(-/-) preparations, NO levels increased significantly with age. Relaxations to acetylcholine were significantly smaller in the aortae of old compared to young WT mice, while such responses were comparable in preparations of young and old Cav3.1(-/-) and Cav3.2(-/-) mice. The expression of Cav3.1 was significantly reduced in aortae from aged compared to young WT mice. The level of phosphorylated eNOS was significantly increased in aortae from aged Cav3.1(-/-) mice. In conclusion, T-type calcium channel-deficient mice develop less age-dependent endothelial dysfunction. Changes in NO levels are involved in this phenomenon in WT and Cav3.1(-/-) mice. These findings suggest that T-type channels play an important role in age-induced endothelial dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)355–365
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


  • Aging/metabolism
  • Animals
  • Aorta/growth & development
  • Calcium Channels, T-Type/genetics
  • Endothelium, Vascular/metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Deletion
  • Male
  • Mesenteric Arteries/growth & development
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nitric Oxide/metabolism
  • Vasoconstriction
  • Vasodilation


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