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Am J Physiol. 1995 Jul;269(1 Pt 1):G167-71.

Ca2+ waves are organized among hepatocytes in the intact organ.

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Liver Study Unit, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Hormone-induced increases in cytosolic Ca2+ (Cai2+) begin as Cai2+ waves in cells isolated from most types of tissue (1, 11), but whether such waves actually occur in vivo is unknown. To investigate this, we examined vasopressin-induced Cai2+ signals in hepatocytes within the perfused rat liver. Using confocal fluorescence video microscopy, we found that increases in Cai2+ began as waves that usually originated in hepatocytes near central venules, then spread opposite to the direction of blood flow, to hepatocytes near portal venules. We used immunochemistry to determine that the liver vasopressin V1a receptor is most concentrated among hepatocytes in the pericentral region, providing the mechanism by which Cai2+ waves originate there. Pericentral-to-periportal Cai2+ waves may direct peristaltic flow of bile, since Cai2+ induces contraction of the apical pole of hepatocytes and since peristaltic contractions in liver also occur in a pericentral-to-periportal direction. The organization of Cai2+ waves among cells in intact tissue may be a means by which an integrative, organ-level response is provided in response to hormonal stimuli.

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