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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2005 Mar;288(3):C606-12. Epub 2004 Nov 10.

Enhanced response to caffeine and 4-chloro-m-cresol in malignant hyperthermia-susceptible muscle is related in part to chronically elevated resting [Ca2+]i.

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Centro de Biofísica y Bioquímica, Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas, Caracas, Venezuela.


Malignant hyperthermia (MH) is a potentially fatal pharmacogenetic syndrome caused by exposure to halogenated volatile anesthetics and/or depolarizing muscle relaxants. We have measured intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)) using double-barreled, Ca(2+)-selective microelectrodes in myoballs prepared from skeletal muscle of MH-susceptible (MHS) and MH-nonsusceptible (MHN) swine. Resting [Ca(2+)](i) was approximately twofold in MHS compared with MHN quiescent myoballs (232 +/- 35 vs. 112 +/- 11 nM). Treatment of myoballs with caffeine or 4-chloro-m-cresol (4-CmC) produced an elevation in [Ca(2+)](i) in both groups; however, the concentration required to cause a rise in [Ca(2+)](i) elevation was four times lower in MHS than in MHN skeletal muscle cells. Incubation of MHS cells with the fast-complexing Ca(2+) buffer BAPTA reduced [Ca(2+)](i), raised the concentration of caffeine and 4-CmC required to cause an elevation of [Ca(2+)](i), and reduced the amount of Ca(2+) release associated with exposure to any given concentration of caffeine or 4-CmC to MHN levels. These results suggest that the differences in the response of MHS skeletal myoballs to caffeine and 4-CmC may be mediated at least in part by the chronic high resting [Ca(2+)](i) levels in these cells.

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