Regulation of calcium release is gated by calcium current, not gating charge, in cardiac myocytes

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Science  19 May 1989:
Vol. 244, Issue 4906, pp. 800-803
DOI: 10.1126/science.2543067


In skeletal muscle, intramembrane charge movement initiates the processes that lead to the release of calcium from the sarcoplasmic reticulum. In cardiac muscle, in contrast, the similarity of the voltage dependence of developed tension and intracellular calcium transients to that of calcium current suggests that the calcium current may gate the release of calcium. Nevertheless, a mechanism similar to that of skeletal muscle continues to be postulated for cardiac muscle. By using rapid exchange (20 to 50 milliseconds) of the extracellular solutions in rat ventricular myocytes in which the intracellular calcium transients or cell shortening were measured, it has now been shown that the influx of calcium through the calcium channel is a mandatory link in the processes that couple membrane depolarization to the release of calcium. Thus, intramembrane charge movement does not contribute to the release of calcium in heart muscle.

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