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Biochem Pharmacol. 1994 Jan 20;47(2):225-31.

Ruthenium red inhibits selectively chromaffin cell calcium channels.

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  • 1Departamento de NeuroquĂ­mica, Facultad de Medicina-Instituto de Neurociencias, Universidad de Alicante, Spain.


The effect of Ruthenium red (RR) on ionic currents and catecholamine secretion was studied in chromaffin cells. This polycation inhibited 59 mM potassium-stimulated 45Ca2+ uptake in a concentration-dependent manner (IC50 = 5 +/- 0.2 microM). This effect was more evident at extracellular calcium concentrations over 1 mM and was not abolished by neuraminidase pretreatment. RR also inhibited potassium-stimulated catecholamine secretion (IC50 = 6 +/- 0.9 microM). These results were corroborated by patch-clamp in whole-cell recordings. RR inhibited chromaffin cell calcium currents (IC50 = 7 microM) without affecting significantly either sodium or potassium currents. Radioligand binding studies in adrenomedullary plasma membranes showed that RR inhibited [125I]omega-conotoxin GVIA binding but it had no effect on specific binding of [3H]nitrendipine. The effect of the RR on calcium currents was additive with the inhibitory effect observed with 10 microM nitrendipine. The residual dihydropyridine-resistant calcium current was inhibited with a potency similar to that determined under control conditions in the absence of nitrendipine. These results demonstrate that RR selectively inhibits calcium channels; however, this polycation was not selective for a particular calcium channel subtype.

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