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Am J Physiol. 1990 Oct;259(4 Pt 1):C675-86.

Spatial dynamics of intracellular calcium in agonist-stimulated vascular smooth muscle cells.

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Department of Biochemistry, AFRC Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics Research, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


Vasoconstrictor agonists stimulate smooth muscle contraction by inducing a rise in intracellular free Ca2+. Digital-imaging microscopy of fura-2 fluorescence from single vascular smooth muscle cells cultured from the human internal mammary artery has allowed us to record the subcellular alterations in Ca2+ that occur immediately after stimulation by receptor agonists. The thrombin-induced rise in cytoplasmic free Ca2+ begins in a discrete region typically located close to the end of the cell. Subsequently, this region of elevated Ca2+ expands until Ca2+ is elevated throughout the cell cytoplasm. The rate of spreading in the region of elevated Ca2+ in a linear direction averaged 10.1 microns/s, enabling it to traverse the length of most cells within approximately 5 s, and involved rises in Ca2+ of between 200 and 500 nM. In some cells, the Ca2+ rise began at both ends and collided midway. Similar dynamic changes in the spatial distribution of Ca2+ were recorded in cells stimulated by acetylcholine. The novel observation that vasoconstrictor agonists induce an elevation of Ca2+ in a localized region which subsequently expands throughout the cytoplasm of single smooth muscle cells may provide new insight into the nature of Ca2+ signaling in vascular tissue.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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