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Physiology and Pharmacology - Essay Example

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Physiology and Pharmacology. Smooth muscles are the muscles in the human body which are not under the conscious control of an individual that is they are involuntary. Smooth muscles are present in the most important operating systems of the human body…
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Physiology and Pharmacology
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Download file to see previous pages The contraction and relaxation of these muscles involves interplay of ions. The contraction in the smooth muscle is led to by the interaction of calcium and calmodulin to activate the myosin chains by phosphorylating it. Actin and myosin are involved in the contractile process. An alteration in the potential of the membrane results in the initiation of action potentials which in turn leads to contraction. For actin and myosin to bring about contraction, the myosin light chain kinase (MLC kinase) plays a very important role. This is because it is the function of the MLC kinase to phosphorylate the chain of myosin for contraction to occur. The relaxation of smooth muscle is brought about by the elimination of the stimuli that result in contraction or by the specific function of substances like atrial natriuretic factor which prevent contraction from occurring (Guyton & Hall 2006; Ganong 2005; Webb 2003).
Relaxation of the smooth muscle needs a reduction in the amount of calcium within the cell and the working of the enzyme Myosin Light chain phosphatase. The reduction in the amount of calcium in the sarcoplasm results in the separation of the dephosphorylated heads of myosin from actin and thus relaxation occurs. Substances that attach to the receptors on the sarcolemma and lead to the activation of adenylate cyclase-cyclic AMP (cAMP) further result in the activation of protein kinases. These protein kinases lead to the phosphorylation of the myosin light chain kinase making it lose its activity by the reduction of its attraction for the Calcium- calmodulin complex. Furthermore, substances that lead to a rise in the cyclic GMP (cGMP) also promote the functioning of protein kinases. The work of these kinases is to enhance the functioning of the myosin light chain phosphatase and affect the functioning of the calcium ion pumps. They cause the reduction of the calcium ion inside the sarcoplasm and hence lead to relaxation of the smooth muscle. Also an increase in the polarity of the sarcolemma results in the closure of the voltage gated channels of calcium. This prevents the entry of calcium and hence leads to the relaxation of the smooth muscle (Seifter 2005; Webb 2003). Smooth muscle relaxing drugs are used for the treatment of various pathological conditions. Nitrite and nitrate drugs which include glyceryl trinitrate, isosorbide dinitrate and sodium nitroprusside are a class of drugs which function in a similar manner as nitric oxide. The function of these drugs is to increase the amount of cyclic GMP. This results in the activation of protein kinases and subsequent reduction of sarcoplasmic calcium ions. This provides for the relaxation of the smooth muscles. These drugs are used for the treatment of angina and acute hypertension. Calcium channels blockers are another class of drugs which are used to relax smooth muscles of all types. These drugs prevent the entry of calcium in the intracellular compartment and thus lead to relaxation of the smooth muscles. Their main function is for the purpose of vasodilation of the vessels and verapamil and diltiazem are examples of these classes of drugs. Drugs that lead to the opening of ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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