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Cell Mol Neurobiol. 1988 Jun;8(2):157-69.

Formation of second messengers in response to activation of ion channels in excitable cells.

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Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry, National Institutes of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


1. Depolarization of excitable cells of the central nervous system results in the formation of the second messengers cyclic AMP, cyclic GMP, inositol phosphates, and diacylglycerides. 2. Depolarization-evoked accumulation of cyclic AMP in brain preparations can be accounted for mainly by the release of adenosine, which subsequently interacts with stimulatory adenosine receptor linked to adenylate cyclase. 3. Depolarization-evoked formation of cyclic GMP in brain preparations is linked to activation of voltage-dependent calcium channels, presumably leading to activation of guanylate cyclase by calcium ions. 4. In brain slices depolarization-evoked stimulation of phosphoinositide breakdown and subsequent formation of inositol phosphates and diacylglycerides are linked to activation of voltage-dependent calcium channels, which are sensitive to dihydropyridines, presumably leading to activation of phospholipase(s) C by calcium ions. 5. In the synaptoneurosome preparation depolarization-evoked stimulation of phosphoinositide breakdown does not involve activation of dihydropyridine-sensitive calcium channels and, instead, appears to be regulated primarily by the intracellular concentration of sodium ions. Thus, agents that induce increases in intracellular sodium--such as toxins that open or delay inactivation of voltage-dependent sodium channels; ouabain, an inhibitor of Na+/K+ ATPase that transports sodium outward and a sodium ionophore--all stimulate phosphoinositide breakdown. Mechanistically, increases in intracellular sodium either might directly affect phospholipase(s) C or might lead to influx of calcium ions through Na+/Ca2+ transporters. 6. Depolarization-evoked stimulation of cyclic AMP formation and phosphoinositide breakdown can exhibit potentiative interactions with responses to receptor agonists, thereby providing mechanisms for modulation of receptor responses by neuronal activity. 7. Since all these second messengers can induce phosphorylation of ion channels through the activation of specific kinases, it is proposed that depolarization-evoked formation of second messengers represents a putative feedback mechanism to regulate ion fluxes in excitable cells.

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