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Rev Med Chir Soc Med Nat Iasi. 1996 Jul-Dec;100(3-4):48-51.

[The role of the mitochondria in the clearance of cytosolic calcium].

[Article in Romanian]

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Facultatea de Stomatologie, Disciplina de Biochimie, Universitatea de Medicină şi Farmacie Gr. T. Popa, Iaşi.


The magnitude and space-temporal profile of the intracellular Ca2+ transients are determined both by the mechanism that decrease and increase calcium levels in the cytoplasm. By the use of cocktails with different content of specific inhibitors of the extrusion and sequester mechanisms, the ability of mitochondrial Ca2+ transport to limit the elevation in free cytosolic Ca2+ concentration, following an imposed Ca2+ load was reexamined, indicating variable data with respect to various cells. In chromaffin cells, inhibition of mitochondrial Ca2+ accumulation with protonophore, dramatically modifies the shape of the [Ca2+]c response, indicating that mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake is an important mechanism for clearance of large Ca2+ loads. By contrast, using digital imaging in the presence of specific mitochondria inhibitors to investigate the [Ca2+]c responses of cerebellar granule cells in which ATP generation has been totally separated from mitochondrial Ca2+ transport, indicates surprising results: it was confirmed that mitochondria in these cells accumulate Ca2+ entering the cell in response to plasma membrane depolarization, but specific abolition of mitochondrial Ca2+ accumulation without ATP depletion significantly decreases the bulk cytoplasmic Ca2+ transients generated by elevated KCl levels, whereas the response in greatly increased when protonophore are present and ATP/ADP ratios are allowed to collapse. The results suggest that nonmitochondrial ATP-dependent transport pathways are primarily responsible for removing excess Ca2+ from the cytoplasm. Far from restricting the elevation in [Ca2+]c in response to a Ca2+ load, functional mitochondria may enhance the elevation in the bulk cytoplasm. The existent conflict of data, suggests the need for a new reevaluation of the role of mitochondria in Ca2+ clearance, and the possibility that mitochondria contribute to, rather than protect against, excitoxicity has to be investigated.

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