Cytosolic-free calcium in smooth-muscle and endothelial cells in an intact arterial wall from rat mesenteric artery in vitro.
The regulation of cytosolic-free calcium concentration of smooth-muscle and endothelial cells was mainly studied on cultured cells where the cross talk between these two coupled cell types is lost. In the present study, the cytosolic-free calcium concentration in the endothelial and the smooth-muscle cells was examined in an intact arterial wall in vitro. Strips of the main branch of rat mesenteric artery were used. Cytosolic-free calcium concentration [Ca2+]i was estimated by determining the fluorescence ratio of the two calcium probes, Fluo-4 and Fura red. The emitted fluorescence of both probes was measured with a confocal microscope. We showed that potassium and phenylephrine, which increase the cytosolic -free calcium concentration of the smooth-muscle cells, also indirectly influence the calcium concentration in the endothelial cells. By simultaneously determining [Ca2+]i in the endothelial and the smooth-muscle cells of an arterial strip, we observed that when calcium increases in the endothelial cells in response to acetylcholine, it slightly decreases in the smooth-muscle cells. We conclude that the regulation of [Ca2+]i in the arterial endothelial cell, depends according to the stimuli either upon the endothelial cells themselves, or upon the coupled smooth-muscle cells.