Highlighted Meeting ArticleEndothelial Small-Conductance and Intermediate-Conductance KCa Channels An Update on Their Pharmacology and Usefulness as Cardiovascular TargetsWulff, Heike PhD*; Köhler, Ralf PhD†,‡ Author Information *Department of Pharmacology, University of California, Davis, CA †Cardiovascular and Renal Research, Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark ‡Aragon Institute of Health Sciences I+CS and ARAID, Zaragoza, Spain. Reprints: Heike Wulff, PhD, Department of Pharmacology, University of California, Davis, 451 Health Sciences Drive, GBSF 3502, Davis, CA 95616 (e-mail: [email protected]). Supported by National Institutes of Health grants R21NS072585 and R01GM076063 to H.W.; and a grant of Novo Nordisk Fonden to R.K. The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose. Received August 23, 2012 Accepted October 17, 2012 Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology: February 2013 - Volume 61 - Issue 2 - p 102-112 doi: 10.1097/FJC.0b013e318279ba20 Buy Metrics Abstract Most cardiovascular researchers are familiar with intermediate-conductance KCa3.1 and small-conductance KCa2.3 channels because of their contribution to endothelium-derived hyperpolarization. However, to immunologists and neuroscientists, these channels are primarily known for their role in lymphocyte activation and neuronal excitability. KCa3.1 is involved in the proliferation and migration of T cells, B cells, mast cells, macrophages, fibroblasts, and dedifferentiated vascular smooth muscle cells and is, therefore, being pursued as a potential target for use in asthma, immunosuppression, and fibroproliferative disorders. In contrast, the 3 KCa2 channels (KCa2.1, KCa2.2, and KCa2.3) contribute to the neuronal medium afterhyperpolarization and, depending on the type of neuron, are involved in determining firing rates and frequencies or in regulating bursting. KCa2 activators are accordingly being studied as potential therapeutics for ataxia and epilepsy, whereas KCa2 channel inhibitors like apamin have long been known to improve learning and memory in rodents. Given this background, we review the recent discoveries of novel KCa3.1 and KCa2.3 modulators and critically assess the potential of KCa activators for the treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases by improving endothelium-derived hyperpolarizations. © 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.