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Neurobiol Aging. 1998 Jan-Feb;19(1):89-96.

Adrenergic nerve smooth endoplasmic reticulum calcium buffering declines with age.

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Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, University of California, Irvine 92697, USA.


Calcium buffering capacity declines with age in sympathetic nerves of rat tail artery. To test whether smooth endoplasmic reticulum (SER) calcium buffering declines with age, effects of two SER calcium-ATPase inhibitors on norepinephrine release and intracellular calcium were determined. Thapsigargin or cyclopiazonic acid caused a significant increase in stimulation-evoked norepinephrine release from 6 month tail arteries with much less effect in 20 months. In isolated superior cervical ganglion cells, the rate of rise of calcium with K+-depolarization increased only in young cells with either cyclopiazonic acid or thapsigargin, with no effect in the old. In young cells, cyclopiazonic acid significantly influenced time to peak, rate of decline, and time to basal of K+-evoked calcium transients, but had no effect in old cells. Thapsigargin caused a significant increase in rate of decline in young, but not old, cells. These differential effects suggest an age-related decline in function of SER calcium buffering mechanisms in the sympathetic nervous system causing older nerves to become more reliant on mitochondria to buffer calcium.

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