Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Trends Pharmacol Sci. 1995 Mar;16(3):98-105.

Superficial buffer barrier function of smooth muscle sarcoplasmic reticulum.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


In smooth muscle the superficial sarcoplasmic reticulum accumulates a portion of the Ca2+ that enters cells through the plasmalemma and thus functions as a buffer barrier to Ca2+ entry into the myoplasm (superficial buffer barrier or SBB). In this review Cornelis van Breemen, Qian Chen and Ismail Laher summarize experimental support for the SBB, and discuss data indicating that: (1) contraction is related more to the rate than extent of Ca2+ entry; (2) refilling of sarcoplasmic reticulum from the extracellular space is mediated by Ca2+ influx and Ca2+ pumping by the sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ pump; (3) the superficial sarcoplasmic reticulum unloads Ca2+ to the extracellular space by a multi step process that involves sequentially the opening of Ca2+ and inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate [Ins(1,4,5,)P3] sensitive channels and Ca2+ extrusion by Na(+)-Ca2+ exchange; (4) the SBB generates a peripheral Ca2+ gradient; (5) Ca(2+)-mobilizing receptor agonists generate Ins(1,4,5)P3 which short circuits the SBB to increase the effectiveness of Ca2+ influx in raising [Ca2+]i and consequently increase smooth muscle contraction. A physiologically regulated SBB is thought to enhance the informational content of Ca2+ signalling and support variable reduction of smooth muscle tone. Pharmacological modulation of Ca2+ transport in the superficial sarcoplasmic reticulum therefore presents an alternative means of controlling smooth muscle tone dependent on Ca2+ entry.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center