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Am J Physiol. 1996 Mar;270(3 Pt 2):R561-70.

Characterization and function of ATP receptors on hepatocytes from the little skate Raja erinacea.

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Center for Membrane Toxicity Studies, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, Salsbury Cove, Maine 04672, USA.


Hormonal regulation of hepatocytes, via cytosolic Ca2+ signaling, is well established in higher life forms but has not been investigated in elasmobranchs. We therefore examined Ca2+ signaling in hepatocytes isolated from the little skate, Raja erinacea. In hepatocyte populations, ATP induced a rapid, biphasic increase in Ca2+, as it does in mammalian hepatocytes. Other hormones that act on mammalian hepatocytes, such as vasopressin, angiotensin, and phenylephrine, induced no such Ca2+ increase. The initial phase of the ATP-induced Ca2+ increase was seen even in Ca(2+)-free medium, whereas the late sustained phase of the increase was not. Similar dose-response curves were obtained by stimulation with ATP, ADP, UTP, and 2-methylthio-ATP. In contrast, AMP, adenosine, beta, gamma-methyl-ATP, CTP, and GTP induced little or no Ca2+ increase. In single hepatocytes, ATP, ADP, UTP, and 2-methylthio-ATP each induced a sustained increase in Ca2+ at high concentrations, but at low concentrations induced Ca2+ oscillations. A maximal concentration of ATP (100 microM) caused a marked, transient increase in bile flow in the isolated perfused skate liver, whereas 100 microM adenosine had no such effect. These findings demonstrate that skate hepatocytes possess P2 nucleotide receptors that link to intracellular plus extracellular Ca2+ mobilization, which in turn regulates bile secretion. The broad specificity of the response to ATP and related compounds suggests either that multiple types of P2 receptors are expressed by skate hepatocytes or else that these cells possess a single primitive nucleotide receptor from which other P2 subtypes subsequently evolved.

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