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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Jan 9;93(1):295-9.

cAMP compartmentation is responsible for a local activation of cardiac Ca2+ channels by beta-adrenergic agonists.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Cardiologie Cellulaire et Moléculaire, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Université de Paris-Sud, Faculté de Pharmacie, Châtenay-Malabry, France.


The role of cAMP subcellular compartmentation in the progress of beta-adrenergic stimulation of cardiac L-type calcium current (ICa) was investigated by using a method based on the use of whole-cell patch-clamp recording and a double capillary for extracellular microperfusion. Frog ventricular cells were sealed at both ends to two patch-clamp pipettes and positioned approximately halfway between the mouths of two capillaries that were separated by a 5-micron thin wall. ICa could be inhibited in one half or the other by omitting Ca2+ from one solution or the other. Exposing half of the cell to a saturating concentration of isoprenaline (ISO, 1 microM) produced a nonmaximal increase in ICa (347 +/- 70%; n = 4) since a subsequent application of ISO to the other part induced an additional effect of nearly similar amplitude to reach a 673 +/- 130% increase. However, half-cell exposure to forskolin (FSK, 30 microM) induced a maximal stimulation of ICa (561 +/- 55%; n = 4). This effect was not the result of adenylyl cyclase activation due to FSK diffusion in the nonexposed part of the cell. To determine the distant effects of ISO and FSK on ICa, the drugs were applied in a zero-Ca solution. Adding Ca2+ to the drug-containing solutions allowed us to record the local effect of the drugs. Dose-response curves for the local and distant effects of ISO and FSK on ICa were used as an index of cAMP concentration changes near the sarcolemma. We found that ISO induced a 40-fold, but FSK induced only a 4-fold, higher cAMP concentration close to the Ca2+ channels, in the part of the cell exposed to the drugs, than it did in the rest of the cell. cAMP compartmentation was greatly reduced after inhibition of phosphodiesterase activity with 3-isobutyl-methylxanthine, suggesting the colocalization of enzymes involved in the cAMP cascade. We conclude that beta-adrenergic receptors are functionally coupled to nearby Ca2+ channels via local elevations of cAMP.

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