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Cell Calcium. 2010 Aug-Sep;48(2-3):102-13. doi: 10.1016/j.ceca.2010.08.007.

Fast calcium waves.

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The Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, USA.


Calcium waves are propagated in five main speed ranges which cover a billion-fold range of speeds. We define the fast speed range as 3-30μm/s after correction to a standard temperature of 20°C. Only waves which are not fertilization waves are considered here. 181 such cases are listed here. These are through organisms in all major taxa from cyanobacteria through mammals including human beings except for those through other bacteria, higher plants and fungi. Nearly two-thirds of these speeds lie between 12 and 24μm/s. We argue that their common mechanism in eukaryotes is a reaction-diffusion one involving calcium-induced calcium release, in which calcium waves are propagated along the endoplasmic reticulum. We propose that the gliding movements of some cyanobacteria are driven by fast calcium waves which are propagated along their plasma membranes. Fast calcium waves may drive materials to one end of developing embryos by cellular peristalsis, help coordinate complex cell movements during development and underlie brain injury waves. Moreover, we continue to argue that such waves greatly increase the likelihood that chronic injuries will initiate tumors and cancers before genetic damage occurs. Finally we propose numerous further studies.

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