Regulation of pressure and local blood flow occurs at the level of resistance arteries and arterioles. Under physiological conditions, these small vessels exist in a state of partial constriction, termed myogenic tone. Myogenic tone is considered to be an intrinsic property of arteriolar smooth muscle cells, which membranes depolarize in response to increase in the intraluminal pressure. Oscillations of membrane potential in smooth muscles are mediated by the activity of voltage-gated L-type Ca2+ channels, which provide an influx of Ca2+ to activate various voltage-gated and Ca2+-sensitive channels of smooth muscle cells and to initiate endothelial Ca2+ signaling needed for vasodilation. Although a relationship between change in membrane potential and myogenic response is considered to be universal throughout various smooth muscle tissues, it may be regulated differently based on autoregulatory responses and channels expression. Here we review electrophysiological signature of arteriolar smooth muscle in various tissues, with an emphases and specific examples of the excitability of 4th order arterioles isolated from skeletal muscle.
Part of the book: Muscle Cells