Localization of ryanodine receptors in smooth muscle

Ryan E. Lesh*, Graeme F. Nixon, Sidney Fleischer, Judith A. Airey, Andrew P. Somlyo, Avril V. Somlyo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


The ryanodine receptor (RyR) in aortic and vas deferens smooth muscle was localized using immunofluorescence confocal microscopy and immunoelectron microscopy. Indirect immunofluorescent labeling of aortic smooth muscle with anti-RyR antibodies showed a patchy network-like staining pattern throughout the cell cytoplasm, excluding nuclei, in aortic smooth muscle and localized predominantly to the cell periphery in the vas deferens. This distribution is consistent with that of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) network, as demonstrated by electron micrographs of osmium ferrocyanide-stained SR in the two smooth muscles. Immunoelectron microscopy of vas deferens smooth muscle showed anti-RyR antibodies localized to both the sparse central and predominant peripheral SR elements. We conclude that RyR-Ca2+-release channels are present in both the peripheral and central SR in aortic and vas deferens smooth muscle. This distribution is consistent with the possibility that both regions are release sites, as indicated by results of electron probe analysis, which show a decrease in the Ca2+ content of both peripheral and internal SR in stimulated smooth muscles. The complex distribution of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate and ryanodine receptors (present study) is compatible with their proposed roles as agonist-induced Ca2+- release channels and origins of Ca2+ sparks, Ca2+ oscillations, and Ca2+ waves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-185
Number of pages11
JournalCirculation Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 1998


  • Confocal microscopy immunofluorescence
  • Electron microscopy
  • Ryanodine receptor
  • Smooth muscle


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