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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2007 Jan;292(1):L92-8. Epub 2006 Sep 1.

Calcium signaling in human airway goblet cells following purinergic activation.

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CF/Pulmonary Research & Treatment Center, Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7248, USA.


Despite the general importance of Ca(2+) signaling in signal transduction, and of goblet cell mucin hypersecretion in inflammatory pulmonary diseases, measurement of airway goblet cell intracellular Ca(2+) (Ca(i)(2+)) has not been reported. In this article, we describe the results of experiments measuring Ca(i)(2+) in primary cultures of human bronchial goblet cells after stimulation with the purinergic agonist adenosine 5'-O-(3-thiotriphosphate) (ATPgammaS) and phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). Ca(2+) signaling in human goblet cells after purinergic stimulation follows the classic paradigm of a Ca(i)(2+) transient from a basal activity of 110 nM to a peak response of 260.1 +/- 41.2 nM within 2 min, followed by a long superbasal plateau (155.3 +/- 0.2 nM) between 10 and 15 min. The rise in Ca(i)(2+) appears to result from a mobilization of intracellular stores, because the transient was nearly abolished by inhibition of PLC with the phosphatidylinositol-specific PLC inhibitor U-73122, and it was not affected significantly by removal of extracellular Ca(2+). Loading goblet cells with BAPTA inhibited the ATPgammaS-induced Ca(2+) transient by 86.0 +/- 13.1%, relative to control. Finally, in contrast to the massive effects of high doses of PMA (300 nM) on mucin secretion from goblet cells, phorbol ester stimulated a small (27.1 +/- 7% of the ATPgammaS control peak), brief rise in Ca(i)(2+). This diminutive signal likely denotes a local Ca(2+) gradient, which may be associated with the mucin granule exocytotic process.

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