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J Physiol. 2012 Dec 1;590(23):6037-45. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.239434. Epub 2012 Sep 17.

Facilitation of cytosolic calcium wave propagation by local calcium uptake into the sarcoplasmic reticulum in cardiac myocytes.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics and Physiology, Rush University Medical Center, 1750 W. Harrison Street, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


The widely accepted paradigm for cytosolic Ca(2+) wave propagation postulates a 'fire-diffuse-fire' mechanism where local Ca(2+)-induced Ca(2+) release (CICR) from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) via ryanodine receptor (RyR) Ca(2+) release channels diffuses towards and activates neighbouring release sites, resulting in a propagating Ca(2+) wave. A recent challenge to this paradigm proposed the requirement for an intra-SR 'sensitization' Ca(2+) wave that precedes the cytosolic Ca(2+) wave and primes RyRs from the luminal side to CICR. Here, we tested this hypothesis experimentally with direct simultaneous measurements of cytosolic ([Ca(2+)](i); rhod-2) and intra-SR ([Ca(2+)](SR); fluo-5N) calcium signals during wave propagation in rabbit ventricular myocytes, using high resolution fluorescence confocal imaging. The increase in [Ca(2+)](i) at the wave front preceded depletion of the SR at each point along the calcium wave front, while during this latency period a transient increase of [Ca(2+)](SR) was observed. This transient elevation of [Ca(2+)](SR) could be identified at individual release junctions and depended on the activity of the sarco-endoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase (SERCA). Increased SERCA activity (β-adrenergic stimulation with 1 μM isoproterenol (isoprenaline)) decreased the latency period and increased the amplitude of the transient elevation of [Ca(2+)](SR), whereas inhibition of SERCA (3 μM cyclopiazonic acid) had the opposite effect. In conclusion, the data provide experimental evidence that local Ca(2+) uptake by SERCA into the SR facilitates the propagation of cytosolic Ca(2+) waves via luminal sensitization of the RyR, and supports a novel paradigm of a 'fire-diffuse-uptake-fire' mechanism for Ca(2+) wave propagation in cardiac myocytes.

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