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Cell Calcium. 2002 Sep;32(3):121-30.

Role of mitochondria in intracellular calcium signaling in primary and secondary sensory neurones of rats.

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Bogomoletz Institute of Physiology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Bogomoletz Street 4, Kiev 01024, Ukraine.


The participation of different calcium-regulated mechanisms in the generation of cytosolic Ca(2+) transients during neuronal excitation has been compared in isolated large and small primary (dorsal root ganglia (DRG)) and secondary (spinal dorsal horn (DH)) rat sensory neurones. As it was shown before in murine primary sensory neurones the application of mitochondrial protonophore CCCP by itself induced only small elevation of [Ca(2+)](i). However, its preceding application substantially increased the peak amplitude of depolarization-induced transients. Application of CCCP immediately after termination of the depolarizing pulse induced in both types of primary neurones a massive release of Ca(2+) from mitochondria into the cytosol. In secondary neurones application of CCCP by itself induced a substantial release of Ca(2+) from the mitochondria, but its preceding application resulted in only an insignificant increase in the peak amplitude of depolarization-triggered calcium transients. Application of CCCP immediately after termination of depolarization elicited a small release of Ca(2+), which became more pronounced when the application was delayed. Preceding application of CCCP increased the amplitude of the transients induced by caffeine-triggered Ca(2+) release from the endoplasmic reticulum in secondary neurones and did not affect those in large primary neurones. These findings may be explained by substantial differences in the density and distribution of mitochondria in the cytosol of primary and secondary sensory neurones. This suggestion was confirmed electronmicroscopically, showing a much lower density of mitochondria near plasmalemma in secondary sensory neurones and predominant clustered location of mitochondria beneath the plasmalemma in the primary cells. The possible functional importance of these differences is discussed.

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