Mechanism of [Ca2+], oscillations in rat chromaffin cells: Complex Ca2+-dependent regulation of a ryanodine-insensitive oscillator

Paola D'Andrea, Daniele Zacchetti, Jacopo Meldolesi, Fabio Grohovaz

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In the population of primary cultured rat chromaffin cells, over half exhibited spontaneous [Ca2+], oscillations, whereas most others were induced to oscillate by low concentrations of bradykinin or KCl. [Ca2+]i spots were observed to pulsate in a defined cytoplasmic area (the oscillator). In silent cells those spots remained discrete, whereas in oscillating cells the [Ca2+]i increase expanded to occupy the entire cytoplasm. Alternation of these discrete and expanded events was observed in a few irregularly oscillating cells. Thapsigargin induced prompt blockade of both pulsations and oscillations and prevented recruitment of silent cells to oscillate. This indicates sarcoendoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase-type Ca2+ pump(s) to be crucial for the functioning of the oscillator. Effects of other treatments were variable, depending on the concomitant [Ca2+]i changes. Oscillations were blocked when EGTA or nitrendipine decreased Ca2+ influx and thus [Ca2+]i; they were also blocked when [Ca2+]i was markedly increased by excess KCl, bradykinin, or ryanodine. When in contrast the [Ca2+]i increases induced by the latter agents remained moderate, oscillations were stimulated. The rhythmic activity of rat chromaffin cells appears, therefore, to operate under a complex regulation that requires [Ca2+], within an appropriate operative range and does not involve directly the ryanodine receptor but might rely on the activation of IP3 receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15213-15220
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Jul 15 1993


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry

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