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Nature. 1987 Sep 24-30;329(6137):333-5.

Alpha 1-adrenoceptor subtypes linked to different mechanisms for increasing intracellular Ca2+ in smooth muscle.


Receptor-mediated increases in intracellular Ca2+ levels can be caused by release from intracellular organelles and/or influx from the extracellular fluid. Noradrenaline (NA) released from sympathetic nerves acts on alpha 1-adrenoceptors to increase cytosolic Ca2+ and promote smooth muscle contraction. In many cells activation of alpha 1-adrenoceptors causes formation of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate which promotes Ca2+ release from intracellular stores. The mechanism by which receptor activation opens cell surface Ca2+ channels is not known, although in some cases it may be secondary to formation of inositol phosphates or release of stored intracellular Ca2+ (ref. 3). However, alpha 1-adrenoceptors have recently been shown to have different pharmacological properties in different tissues, and it has been proposed that different alpha 1-adrenoceptor subtypes may control mobilization of intracellular Ca2+ and gating of extracellular Ca2+ influx. We here report evidence for two subtypes of alpha 1-adrenoceptors which cause contractile responses through different molecular mechanisms. One subtype stimulates inositol phosphate (InsP) formation and causes contractions which are independent of extracellular Ca2+, and the other does not stimulate inositol phosphate formation and causes contractions which require the influx of extracellular Ca2+ through dihydropyridine-sensitive channels. These results suggest that neurotransmitters and hormones may control Ca2+ release from intracellular stores and influx through voltage-gated membrane channels through distinct receptor subtypes.

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