Sympathetic vasoconstriction takes an unexpected pannexin detour

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Sci. Signal.  17 Feb 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 364, pp. fs4
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaa7312

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Sympathetic vasoconstriction plays an important role in the control of blood pressure and the distribution of blood flow. In this issue of Science Signaling, Billaud et al. show that sympathetic vasoconstriction occurs through a complex scheme involving the activation of large-pore pannexin 1 channels and the subsequent release of adenosine triphosphate that promotes contraction in an autocrine and paracrine manner. This elaborate mechanism may function as a point of intercept for other signaling pathways—for example, in relation to the phenomenon “functional sympatholysis,” in which exercise abrogates sympathetic vasoconstriction in skeletal muscle. Because pannexin 1 channels are inhibited by nitric oxide, they may function as a switch to turn off adrenergic signaling in skeletal muscle during exercise.

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