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J Biol Chem. 1993 Dec 15;268(35):26240-7.

Calcium channel subtypes controlling serotonin release from human small cell lung carcinoma cell lines.

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  • 1Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Center of Cytopharmacology, Department of Medical Pharmacology, University of Milan, Italy.


Small cell lung carcinoma is an aggressive neuroendocrine tumor that secretes several hormones, some of which act as autocrine growth factors. In order to obtain more information on the process of hormone secretion from this tumor, we have studied the role of intracellular free Ca2+ concentrations and voltage-operated calcium channels in the control of [3H]serotonin release from in vitro growing cell lines. We found that the Ca2+ ionophore ionomycin and the Ca(2+)-ATPase antagonist thapsigargin induced a dose-dependent increase of intracellular Ca2+ and a parallel enhancement of [3H]serotonin release. KCl-induced depolarization also stimulated a dose- and Ca(2+)-dependent [3H]serotonin release that in the GLC8 cell line was effectively inhibited by Ca2+ channel antagonists (Cd2+, nitrendipine, verapamil, omega-conotoxin GVIA, and omega-agatoxin IVA) and potentiated by the Ca2+ channel agonist BayK8644. Autoantibodies against Ca2+ channels present in the sera of Lambert-Eaton myasthenic patients antagonized KCl- but not ionomycin-induced [3H]serotonin release. Polymerase chain reaction analysis indicated that GLC8 cells express L-, N-, and P-type neuronal Ca2+ channel alpha 1 subunits, together with two types of Ca2+ channel beta subunits. The presence of three functionally distinct high threshold Ca2+ channels was also revealed by patch clamp experiments; high threshold Ca2+ channels were identified as dihydropyridine-sensitive (L-type), omega-conotoxin GVIA-sensitive (N-type), and omega-agatoxin IVA-sensitive (P-type). Our data demonstrate that [3H]serotonin is released by small cell lung carcinoma cells in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner and that depolarization-induced [3H]serotonin release is mediated by Ca2+ influx through distinct, neuron-like, Ca2+ channel subtypes.

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