Regulation of calcium concentration in voltage-clamped smooth muscle cells

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Science  14 Apr 1989:
Vol. 244, Issue 4901, pp. 211-214
DOI: 10.1126/science.2704996


The regulation of intracellular calcium concentration in single smooth muscle cells was investigated by simultaneously monitoring electrical events at the surface membrane and calcium concentration in the cytosol. Cytosolic calcium concentration rose rapidly during an action potential or during a voltage-clamp pulse that elicited calcium current; a train of voltage-clamp pulses caused further increases in the calcium concentration up to a limit of approximately 1 microM. The decline of the calcium concentration back to resting levels occurred at rates that varied with the calcium concentration in an apparently saturable manner. Moreover, the rate of decline at any given calcium concentration was enhanced after a higher, more prolonged increase of calcium. The process responsible for this enhancement persisted for many seconds after the calcium concentration returned to resting levels. Thus, the magnitude and duration of a calcium transient appear to regulate the subsequent calcium removal.

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