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J Vasc Res. 2009;46(1):73-82. doi: 10.1159/000140677. Epub 2008 Jun 24.

Cardiac microvascular endothelial cells express a functional Ca+ -sensing receptor.

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Department of Biomedicine, School of Medicine, Benemèrita Universidad Autònoma de Puebla, Puebla, Mexico.


The mechanism whereby extracellular Ca(2+) exerts the endothelium-dependent control of vascular tone is still unclear. In this study, we assessed whether cardiac microvascular endothelial cells (CMEC) express a functional extracellular Ca(2+)-sensing receptor (CaSR) using a variety of techniques. CaSR mRNA was detected using RT-PCR, and CaSR protein was identified by immunocytochemical analysis. In order to assess the functionality of the receptor, CMEC were loaded with the Ca(2+)-sensitive fluorochrome, Fura-2/AM. A number of CaSR agonists, such as spermine, Gd(3+), La(3+) and neomycin, elicited a heterogeneous intracellular Ca(2+) signal, which was abolished by disruption of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (InsP(3)) signaling and by depletion of intracellular stores with cyclopiazonic acid. The inhibition of the Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger upon substitution of extracellular Na(+) unmasked the Ca(2+) signal triggered by an increase in extracellular Ca(2+) levels. Finally, aromatic amino acids, which function as allosteric activators of CaSR, potentiated the Ca(2+) response to the CaSR agonist La(3+). These data provide evidence that CMEC express CaSR, which is able to respond to physiological agonists by mobilizing Ca(2+) from intracellular InsP(3)-sensitive stores.

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