Calcium mobilization and exocytosis after one mechanical stretch of lung epithelial cells

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Science  30 Nov 1990:
Vol. 250, Issue 4985, pp. 1266-1269
DOI: 10.1126/science.2173861


Deep inflation of the lung stimulates surfactant secretion by unknown mechanisms. The hypothesis that mechanical distension directly stimulates type II cells to secrete surfactant was tested by stretching type II cells cultured on silastic membranes. The intracellular Ca2+ concentration was measured in single cells, before and after stretching. A single stretch of alveolar type II cells caused a transient (less than 60 seconds) increase in cytosolic Ca2+ followed by a sustained (15 to 30 minutes) stimulation of surfactant secretion. Both Ca2+ mobilization and exocytosis exhibited dose-dependence to the magnitude of the stretch-stimulus. Thus, mechanical factors can trigger complex cellular events in nonneuron, nonmuscle cells and may be involved in regulating normal lung functions.

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