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Cell Calcium. 2008 Feb;43(2):122-41. Epub 2007 Jun 13.

Sub-plasmalemmal [Ca2+]i upstroke in myocytes of the guinea-pig small intestine evoked by muscarinic stimulation: IP3R-mediated Ca2+ release induced by voltage-gated Ca2+ entry.

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  • 1Division of Basic Medical Sciences, Ion Channels and Cell Signalling Centre, St. George's University of London, UK.


Membrane depolarization triggers Ca(2+) release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) in skeletal muscles via direct interaction between the voltage-gated L-type Ca(2+) channels (the dihydropyridine receptors; VGCCs) and ryanodine receptors (RyRs), while in cardiac muscles Ca(2+) entry through VGCCs triggers RyR-mediated Ca(2+) release via a Ca(2+)-induced Ca(2+) release (CICR) mechanism. Here we demonstrate that in phasic smooth muscle of the guinea-pig small intestine, excitation evoked by muscarinic receptor activation triggers an abrupt Ca(2+) release from sub-plasmalemmal (sub-PM) SR elements enriched with inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors (IP(3)Rs) and poor in RyRs. This was followed by a lesser rise, or oscillations in [Ca(2+)](i). The initial abrupt sub-PM [Ca(2+)](i) upstroke was all but abolished by block of VGCCs (by 5 microM nicardipine), depletion of intracellular Ca(2+) stores (with 10 microM cyclopiazonic acid) or inhibition of IP(3)Rs (by 2 microM xestospongin C or 30 microM 2-APB), but was not affected by block of RyRs (by 50-100 microM tetracaine or 100 microM ryanodine). Inhibition of either IP(3)Rs or RyRs attenuated phasic muscarinic contraction by 73%. Thus, in contrast to cardiac muscles, excitation-contraction coupling in this phasic visceral smooth muscle occurs by Ca(2+) entry through VGCCs which evokes an initial IP(3)R-mediated Ca(2+) release activated via a CICR mechanism.

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